Adam Blair will lead out a Kiwis side into the Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals with just two changes from the team that were upset by Tonga a week ago.

The Kiwis lost 28-22 to Tonga in their final group match but, rather than make wholesale changes for their match against Fiji, coach David Kidwell has opted for just a pair of them.

Hooker Thomas Leuluai is the big loser in the situation as he is out of the 17 altogether, replaced by the energetic Danny Levi, while Kodi Nikorima moves to the bench to accommodate Te Maire Martin at five-eight.

While Kidwell looked at the loss to the Pacific nation as a "blessing in disguise", senior players, including Blair, took a tougher stance on their own effort.


"We let ourselves down in the discipline areas that we are normally very good at and then that forced us to try to play some footy and caused us to make some errors," Blair said.

"You've got to give them credit for the pressure they put on us. If you give them a bit of football they're a hard team to stop."

While Blair has been one of the most outspoken critics of the defection of the likes of Jason Taumalolo, David Fusitu'a and Sio Siua Taukeiaho, he did have some nice words for Tonga following their landmark result.

"At the end of the day it is a rugby league game," he said.

"We go out there for our country. We cross that line and we do as much as we can for each other and at the end of the game you go and say hello and congratulations. That's all it was."

Fiji provide another challenge for the Kiwis as they possess potentially game-breaking backs in the form of five-eight Jarryd Hayne, wing Suliasi Vunivalu and centre Akuila Uate.

Vunivalu has scored eight tries in three appearances so far while Hayne has had a mixed bag in 2017, although he poses a serious threat to any defence if given a hint of space.

Kidwell is aware of the Fijian threat and admits they'll present a different challenge to that the Tongans threw at them last week.

"Fiji are one of the in-form teams. They have scored a lot of points. Their outside backs are the danger men, along with some of their big forwards.

"Obviously Jarryd Hayne is a threat - he likes the big games so we have definitely talked about that as a group."

Kiwis: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Brad Takairangi, Jordan Rapana, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Martin Taupau, Danny Levi, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Simon Mannering, Joseph Tapine, Adam Blair (captain). Interchange (from): Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Russell Packer, Isaac Liu, Kodi Nikorima, Kenny Bromwich, Jason Nightingale, Peta Hiku, Addin Fonua-Blake.