Benji Marshall and Shaun Johnson will team up as the starting halves combination for the Kiwis in their Oceania Cup test against Mate Ma'a Tonga on Saturday.

Marshall returns to the side for his 28th test seven years after his last appearance. It will be the 30th test for Johnson, who will be in the No 6 jersey.

Kiwis captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has been named on the wing replacing Jamayne Isaako with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback in his first test since the 2017 Rugby League World Cup'.

Kieran Foran also returns for the first time since 2017, named on an extended interchange bench, which will see two drop out before the test.


There are four changes to the Kiwis since their last game - the 34-0 third test win over England in Leeds last November.

Marshall replaces the unavailable Kodi Nikorima while debutant Briton Nikora and Kenny Bromwich – on the interchange in Leeds – come into the starting back row to replace the injured Kevin Proctor and Adam Blair.

The extended bench comprises Foran, Jahrome Hughes, Leeson Ah Mau, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, James Fisher-Harris, Zane Tetevano and Kieran Foran.

The Tonga team named on Tuesday features eight former Kiwis.

Kiwis: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ken Maumalo, Esan Marsters, Joseph Manu, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (c), Shaun Johnson, Benji Marshall, Jesse Bromwich, Brandon Smith, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Kenny Bromwich, Briton Nikora, Isaac Liu. Interchange: Jahrome Hughes, Leeson Ah Mau, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Zane Tetevano, Kieran Foran.