Rugby League: Fusitu'a handed Kiwis debut against Scotland

David Fusitu'a will make his Kiwis debut against Scotland. Photo / Getty
David Fusitu'a will make his Kiwis debut against Scotland. Photo / Getty

Kiwis coach David Kidwell has given four international rookies the chance to wear the black-and-white jersey in the New Zealand's clash with Scotland on Saturday morning (NZ).

One-test Kiwi Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (21) has been named at fullback in place of Jordan Kahu, joining debutant David Fusitu'a (22), who takes a wing spot, in the starting line-up.

Three other rookies - Te Maire Martin (21), James Fisher-Harris (20) and Joseph Tapine (22) have been named on the bench for their first appearances in an international test match.

The line-up named today means all 24 members of the touring squad will have played during the tournament, confirming Kidwell's rotation strategy.

"It's an exciting opportunity for these young players," said Kidwell. "They are hungry, their effort and attitude in training has shown me that, and they'll bring a lot of energy."

"The guys making their debuts deserve the opportunity to play. They have worked extremely hard and have been pushing for spots all tour."

The Kiwis have to beat Scotland to make the tournament final, ideally by a large margin to make England's task against Australia more difficult.

"The most important thing right now is we need to win," added Kidwell. "Scotland started really well against England and we need to respect that.

"They have improved every game and if you add that on top of the conditions, we have a tough challenge ahead."

Veteran winger Jason Nightingale also returns to the team, after missing last week's test with an ankle injury.

Manu Ma'u and Greg Eastwood come into the starting team replacing Kevin Proctor and Jason Taumalolo, while Gerard Beale shifts to centre in place of Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

The full NZ Kiwis team is:
1Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
2Jason Nightingale
3Solomone Kata
4Gerard Beale
5David Fusitu'a
6Thomas Leuluai
7Shaun Johnson
8Jesse Bromwich (c)
9Issac Luke
10Adam Blair
11Manu Ma'u
12Tohu Harris
13Greg Eastwood
14Te Maire Martin
15Martin Taupau
16James Fisher-Harris
17Joseph Tapine
18Lewis Brown
19Jordan Rapana

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- NZ Herald

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