Kiwis Rearrange Line-Up

Bradford Bulls three-quarter Shontayne Hape suffered a knee ligament injury in the narrow 20-25 loss to Australia in Melbourne at the weekend and will be replaced by Brisbane’s Tame Tapau.

Manly centre Steve Matai has also suffered an injury that will keep him out of the line-up, forcing coach Brian McClennan to move Nigel Vagana to centre and Jerome Ropati to stand-off.

This will mean Ropati linking up with New Zealand stalwart Stacey Jones in the halves, and the Lions will no doubt be focusing on the new combination in their preparations for the game.

Australian-born Nathan Fien, who has been at the centre of a great deal of criticism in the media, will start the match at hooker, while Tony Puletua has been released from the team on compassionate grounds, replaced by Frank Pritchard.  

Hull back Motu Tony has been named on the bench along with Jason Cayless and his brother Nathan Cayless.

The Kiwis have so far faltered in their title defence, losing their opening two games to the Kangaroos, the second from a try in the final few minutes from Mark Gasnier, and will be ready to make amends against the Lions.

Great Britain, however, will be ready in the knowledge that winning what will be their first game will allow them to put one foot in next month’s final at Aussie Stadium in Sydney.

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