Kiwis ring the changes for World Cup quarters

New Zealand have made two notable changes for their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Fiji.

 

Saturday's clash at Westpac Stadium will be the first in the starting line-up for hooker Danny Levi.

The Newcastle Knights hooker earned a promotion in place of the dropped Thomas Leuluai, who missed out on the 21 altogether.

Levi has played his three Tests from the bench since his debut in the Kiwis' opening World Cup match.

"In the last three games, from what we have seen, he thoroughly deserves that starting spot," coach David Kidwell said on Tuesday.

Te Maire Martin has been recalled in the No.6 jersey to partner Shaun Johnson in the halves.

That sees Kodi Nikorima, who was five-eighth in the loss against Tonga, set to play a utility role against Fiji.

Adam Blair will skipper the side from lock, while Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine and Nelson Asofa-Solomona will get their chance to play in front of their home city fans.

Kidwell said it was important to play "tough and smart football", with the latter lacking against Tonga.

He said the preparation so far this week in Wellington had been "faultless" and, after a tough training session on Tuesday, the players would have Wednesday off.

KIWIS: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Brad Takairangi, Jordan Rapana, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Martin Taupau, Danny Levi, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Simon Mannering, Joseph Tapine, Adam Blair (capt). Interchange (from): Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Russell Packer, Isaac Liu, Kodi Nikorima, Kenny Bromwich, Jason Nightingale, Peta Hiku, Addin Fonua-Blake.

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