Time heals all wounds - even those inflicted by rampaging 113kg Tongan forwards.

New Zealand coach David Kidwell has moved to bury the hatchet with defector Jason Taumalolo, saying he'd be happy to chat with the Tongan lock after their Rugby League World Cup clash in Hamilton on Saturday.

Auckland-born Taumalolo sent shockwaves through Kidwell's camp when he turned his back on the Kiwis on the eve of the competition to link with Tonga.

Kidwell was initially incensed by the decision but has mellowed since his side's two dominant pool victories over Samoa and Scotland.


He says he'd be more than willing to speak with Taumalolo and fellow defectors David Fusitu'a, Manu Ma'u and Sio Siua Taukeiaho post-match.

"You know, time heals I suppose. Jason's playing for Tonga and we've got guys playing for New Zealand. If the opportunity arises and I get the chance to talk to him, 100 per cent I will," Kidwell said yesterday.

"We just have to focus on us, our energy, and where that needs to be."

Kidwell admitted being impressed by the efforts of Mate Ma'a in their opening two games, sweeping aside Scotland 50-4 and Samoa 32-18.

His Kiwis would approach the Pool B crunch match in their usual way, without any extra animosity or fire in the belly but would nevertheless remain on high alert for Taumalolo's indefatigable running game.

The 24-year-old has made a combined 366 Cup metres with ball-in-hand.

"It's about limiting his metres," Kidwell said.

"He's obviously the form forward in the game.

"We're nice and relaxed and not tapping into any emotion or anything, just preparing the way we have been for the last three weeks."

Kidwell has gone back to his top side for the match, bringing back veterans Thomas Leuluai and Simon Mannering while opting for Kodi Nikorima ahead of Te Maire Martin as Shaun Johnson's halves partner.

"Te Maire wants it for sure but we have just gone with Kodi because we think he can direct the team with Shaun and he has that little bit of x-factor about him and confidence."