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Kiwis name four new caps to face Scotland

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/11/2016

Four new caps have been injected into an overhauled Kiwis team to face Scotland at the Four Nations.

Warriors winger David Fusitu'a is in the starting team while the three other uncapped players are on the interchange for Friday's Test in Workington.

Te Maire Martin, James Fisher-Harris and Joseph Tapine will make their debuts off the bench in a match New Zealand must win by 42 points to guarantee a place in the tournament final.

There are five personnel changes and a positional switch from the side who lost 14-8 to Australia in Coventry, marking a shift to the selection methods of coach David Kidwell, who has kept a stable side through his first three Tests in charge.

There are changes on both wings, with Fusitu'a replacing Jordan Rapana while Jason Nightingale returns from an ankle injury. The veteran St George Illawarra flyer effectively replaces centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, with Gerard Beale moving in one spot.

In a third change to the outside back division, fullback Jordan Kahu makes way for one-Test winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who will be played out of position.

Assistant coach Justin Morgan says nothing should be read into the demotion of Kahu, a regular centre for the Brisbane Broncos who has struggled to spark the Kiwis attack from the back.

"Jordan's done a fantastic job in a couple of Test matches, especially defensively," Morgan said.

"Fullback these days has a huge workload to it. So if you're not playing there on a regular basis, it's sometimes hard to condition the legs."

Morgan says Fusitu'a may also get time at fullback during the Test.

Forwards Manu Ma'u and Greg Eastwood are promoted from bench spots to replace Kevin Proctor and Jason Taumalolo, who are both rested.

Prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was the only player unavailable after damaging his knee in the opening win over England.

He has trained this week and is likely to be available if the Kiwis contest next week's final.

Kidwell is pleased all 24 members of his squad will have had game time at the tournament.

"The guys making their debuts deserve the opportunity to play. They have worked extremely hard and have been pushing for spots all tour," he said.

While winning by a large margin would boost New Zealand's hopes of reaching the decider, Kidwell says the team's priority will simply be to win.

Scotland have lost both of their games heavily but rattled England early on last week.

Kiwis: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Jason Nightingale, Solomone Kata, Gerard Beale, David Fusitu'a, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich (capt), Issac Luke, Adam Blair, Manu Ma'u, Tohu Harris, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Te Maire Martin, Martin Taupau, James Fisher-Harris, Joseph Tapine.

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