Esan Marsters is the bolter in the Kiwis team to face England on Sunday (NZT) in Denver.

The Tigers centre, who has only played 28 NRL games, has been selected ahead of Broncos utility Jordan Kahu, who has been a regular in the Kiwis environment since 2014.

With the squad already stripped of so much experience, most pundits thought Michael Maguire would opt for Kahu — who has played fullback, wing and centre for his country — but the new coach has sprung a surprise.

"I was very happy and comfortable to go with [Esan]," said Maguire. "He's been playing well for his club, he's very strong from the back field bringing the ball back and can offload. He's shown some good form and his size and strength is something I am looking forward to seeing on [Sunday]."


Maguire admitted he delayed the decision until the last possible moment.

"I wanted to go through the training session first before I decided which way I went with Jordan and Esan," said Maguire. "I wanted to make sure I was thorough."

The other noticeable feature of the team is the employment of Marty Taupau at lock.

Taupau has played most of his 20 tests as a prop — usually providing impact from the bench – but has some experience in the back row.

"I like to have a bit of size there in the forwards," said Maguire. "Having Marty there gives us some really good punch through the middle. He's got experience. He's got great skills and he can play that 13 role. They have a big forward pack and I thought it was good if I could match that, with the experience I have got through the middle."

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Nelson Asofa Solomona will be the starting front row combination, with Raymond Faitala-Marriner and Joseph Tapine completing the back row.

Roosters middle forward Issac Liu is the unlucky man among the forwards, missing out on the 17-man squad.

The makeup of the bench sums up the raw nature of this Kiwis team, after so many withdrawals for the match in North America.

Three of the four interchange players don't have any Kiwis experience, possibly an unprecedented situation in modern New Zealand league history.

However Leeson Ah Mau and Herman Ese'ese have played for Toa Samoa, while Slade Griffin has four years of NRL experience to lean on.

Overall there will be seven debutants, with the wing pairing of Ken Maumalo and Jamayne Isaako the other rookies.

But the spine has decent experience, headed by hooker Issac Luke, who will run out for his 43rd test. Fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (six tests), along with halfback Kodi Nikorima (eight), will have vital roles in guiding their younger teammates around the park.

Kiwis team to face England at Mile High Stadium, Denver

1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
2. Jamayne Isaako*
3. Esan Marsters*
4. Peta Hiku
5. Ken Maumalo*
6. Te Maire Martin
7. Kodi Nikorima
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Issac Luke
10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
11. James Fisher-Harris
12. Joseph Tapine
13. Martin Taupau
14. Slade Griffin*
15. Raymond Faitala-Marriner*
16. Herman Ese'ese*
17. Leeson Ah Mau*
18. Jordan Kahu
19 Issac Liu

*New Kiwis