World Cup Preview: New Zealand v Papua New Guinea

New Zealand will be looking to maintain their 100% record at the tournament as they take on Papua New Guinea at Headingley on Friday.

They already have their place in the quarter-finals secured, with their opponents likely to be Scotland or Italy, assuming they don’t fall to a shock loss at the hands of the Kumuls.

Adrian Lam’s men have lost both of their games so far, meaning they need to pull off an almighty shock to even have a chance of making it through to the last eight.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney has rotated his squad once again, and could hand an appearance to Thomas Leuluai, the only one of his 24-man squad yet to feature in the tournament. The Warriors half-back or hooker has been struggling with a groin complaint.

The two sides last met at the 2010 Four Nations, with New Zealand coming away 76-12 winners. The Kumuls haven’t scored a point in the first half of their last three meetings with the Kiwis, including the 48-6 defeat they suffered at the last World Cup.

They have upset New Zealand before though – winning 24-22 at Port Moresby back in 1986.

It’s now more than 13 years since their last World Cup win – a 30-22 triumph over Tonga in Toulouse back on November 6, 2000.

New Zealand Squad: Josh Hoffman (Brisbane), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney), Dean Whare (Penrith), Bryson Goodwin (Souths), Manu Vatuvei (NZ Warriors), Kieran Foran (Manly), Shaun Johnson (NZ Warriors), Ben Matulino (NZ Warriors), Isaac Luke (Souths), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney), Elijah Taylor (NZ Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney), Sam Kasiano (Canterbury), Frank-Paul Nu’uausala (Sydney), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury), Jason Nightingale (St George), Thomas Leuluai (NZ Warriors).

Papua New Guinea Squad: Josiah Abavu (Port Moresby), Paul Aiton (Wakefield), Dion Aiye (Rabaul), Wellington Albert (Lae Bombers), Joe Bruno (Rabaul), Jason Chan (Huddersfield), Neville Costigan (Newcastle), Richard Kambo (Port Moresby), Enoch Maki (Port Moresby), Bosam Nene MacDonald (Sydney), David Mead (Gold Coast), Mark Mexico (Rabaul), Jessie Joe Nandye (Whitehaven), Sebastioan Pandia (Port Moresby), Francis Paniu (Rabaul), Jason Tali (Mount Hagen), Ray Thompson (North Queensland), Charlie Wabo (Port Moresby), Menzie Yere (Sheffield)

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