The inclusion of Kaitaia's Elijah Taylor is one of the big talking points as the Kiwis make seven changes for their Rugby League World Cup clash with Scotland.

Rather than playing him at lock or second row where he is usually found, coach David Kidwell has gone with him at hooker in place of the experienced Thomas Leuluai.

Taylor is no stranger to the role, playing multiple games at NRL level as a rake.

The other big change sees Cowboys young gun Te Maire Martin in at standoff in place of Kodi Nikorima.


Nikorima was one of the standout performers in the Kiwis' 38-8 win over Samoa but the temptation to give Martin a run won out.

Further out in the backline wingers Jason Nightingale and Peta Hiku each get a start in place of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Jordan Rapana.

Dean Whare also gets a chance to stake his claim in the centres as he comes in for Gerard Beale, who faces an extended stint on the sidelines after breaking two bones in his ankle against Samoa.

The injury could have ramifications for the Warriors as their new signing is expected to miss four to six months.

Addin Fonua-Blake is set to earn his first Kiwis' cap coming off the bench. Kenny Bromwich is fit and raring to go in the back row.

Captain Adam Blair shifts into lock as Simon Mannering is rested.

New Zealand will be looking for a more polished effort against Scotland, who held them to an 18-all draw in the 2016 Four Nations.

The Kiwis had 17 errors in that contest and Kidwell knows they need to address that in order to succeed in this tournament.

"We definitely know 17 is too much, so we'll look to get that down this week," he said of the high error count.

"We're building. A lot of guys haven't played for a lot of weeks.

"We've just got to find that balance of that Kiwis style and being smart and tough. There were a couple of crucial errors there but we'll get better as we get fitter and the tournament goes on."

The team kept a lid on celebrations post-match to ensure there was no repeat of the misbehaviour and controversy that followed in the wake of the Kiwis' Anzac test loss in Canberra in May.

"We were very grounded. We stayed in and had a feed. A lot of guys went to bed early. It was a late game but it was good to see a lot of family at breakfast.

"That's one of the things with the Kiwis family; after a late game, a lot of the guys have got young kids, so we bring them in for breakfast along with mums and dads."

The match kicks off at 5pm on Saturday in Christchurch.

New Zealand: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jason Nightingale, Dean Whare, Brad Takairangi, Peta Hiku, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Martin Taupau, Elijah Taylor, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kenny Bromwich, Joseph Tapine, Adam Blair (c). Reserves: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Russell Packer, Addin Fonua-Blake, Danny Levi.