Mal Meninga hints at early Australia team news for World Cup final 

Josh McAllister
Mal Meninga

Australia head coach Mal Meninga hinted that he will name an unchanged side for the World Cup final against Samoa at Old Trafford this Saturday.

The Kangaroos booked their place in the final with a 16-14 victory over New Zealand at Elland Road on Friday night.

Meninga, 62, insisted that his semi-final team selection was his best. He further hinted it will be the same side that will feature against Samoa at the Theatre of Dreams.

When asked if the same 17 will play again, Meninga simply responded: “Yes,” – before further suggesting that the battle selections within his 24-man squad are over. 

The knock-out stages has seen Nathan Cleary given the nod over Daly Cherry-Evans to play in the halves alongside Cameron Munster. Against the Kiwis, Ben Hunt started the game at hooker, with Melbourne’s Harry Grant on the bench.

Mal Meninga impressed by bench impact

Grant was joined by Pat Carrigan, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and match-winner Cameron Murray on the bench, and Meninga looks set to rely on those four players once again for impact against Matt Parish’s Samoa.

“I thought all our bench were quite good,” Meninga said following the win against New Zealand.

“They played with ball speed and off the back of that Harry was good as well. Cameron is a great player and has played his role to the best of his ability. I was really happy with how the bench played tonight.

“We had to be at our best against New Zealand. There’s improvement in us, but I was really happy with everyone. Everyone needed to be committed and had to come up with some special efforts.”

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