Matagi set for Kiwi debut against Samoa

New Zealand Warriors prop Suaia Matagi is set to make his Kiwi debut in Whangarei on Saturday against Samoa.

The 26-year-old front-rower actually played for Samoa in last year’s World Cup. He replaces Greg Eastwood on the Kiwi bench, as New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney makes only a few adjustments to the squad which beat Australia at the weekend.

Hooker Issac Luke returns in place of Thomas Leuluai, after serving a two-game suspension that comprised South Sydney Rabbitohs’ NRL Grand Final victory and last week’s encounter with Australia.

Manu Vatuvei replaces Gerard Beale on the wing, while Adam Blair will win his 29th cap in his hometown.

NEW ZEALAND:

Peta Hiku, Jason Nightingale, Dean Whare, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Manu Vatuvei, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jesse Bromwich, Issac Luke, Adam Blair, Simon Mannering (captain), Kevin Proctor, Jason Taumalolo

Interchange:
Lewis Brown, Suaia Matagi, Martin Taupau, Tohu Harris

18th man: Bodene Thompson

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