NRL: Laumape, Rapira return for Warriors

Ngani Laumape. Photo / Getty Images
Ngani Laumape. Photo / Getty Images

Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden has made two squad changes for Sunday's round 20 clash against the competition-leading Manly Sea Eagles at Mount Smart Stadium.

After serving a three-game suspension, Ngani Laumape returns on the right wing for his 24th NRL appearance while 163-game veteran prop Sam Rapira is brought onto an extended bench.

Laumape comes in for 19-year-old David Fusitu'a while Rapira, who has missed the last two matches with a back problem, comes onto a five-man interchange for Agnatius Paasi.

He joins Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Thomas Leuluai and Jayson Bukuya, who was 18th man for last Saturday's 22-28 loss to Brisbane.

The Sea Eagles, beaten grand finalists last year, took outright ownership of the competition lead on 28 points with their 21-12 win over St George Illawarra last night.

The only regular season meeting between the seventh-placed Warriors and Manly offers a smorgasbord of mouth-watering match-ups.

"It's exciting for us as a club, for our members and for our fans to have the Sea Eagles here at this time of the season," said McFadden.

"They've been the form team in the competition and bring so much quality with them. It's a massive challenge for us and a great opportunity to see where we measure up.

"There were aspects of our performance which were disappointing last weekend. In the first half much of the detail which has been good for us wasn't at the level we expect."

The Sea Eagles have been one of the Warriors' most difficult opponents with just eight wins in 25 encounters and only two victories in the last 12 games.

The last time the two sides had a Mount Smart Stadium contest in June last year the Warriors won a thriller 18-16, ending a run of six straight losses to Manly stretching back to the 26-24 success at Brookvale Oval when Stacey Jones made his comeback in 2009.

Warriors
1 Sam Tomkins
2 Ngani Laumape
3 Konrad Hurrell
4 Dane Nielsen
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Chad Townsend
7 Shaun Johnson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Nathan Friend
10 Suaia Matagi
11 Ben Henry
12 Simon Mannering (c)
13 Sebastine Ikahihifo
Interchange:
14 Feleti Mateo
15 Ben Matulino
16 Jayson Bukuya
17 Thomas Leuluai
20 Sam Rapira

- NZ Herald

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