Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has named seven potential debutants as part of a 21-man squad for the upcoming Pacific Championships.
Knights duo Fa'amanu Brown and Leo Thompson have been named alongside Wiremu Greig, Keano Kini, Griffin Neame, Matt Timoko and Naufahu Whyte as the new faces in squad ahead of their first game against Samoa on October 21.
With Shaun Johnson ruling himself unavailable for selection, Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown are set to partner in the halves with Joey Manu and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad both options to fill the number one jersey at fullback.
Premiership-winning props James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota are set to start up front together as part of an impressive engine room which also includes Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Joseph Tapine, Briton Nikora and Isaiah Papali'i.
Danny Levi, Kieran Foran and Nu Brown are all options to fill the hooking role with the likes of Brandon Smith and Jeremy Marshall-King unavailable.
Levi returns after last playing for New Zealand at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, while the leading points and try-scorer in 2023, Jamayne Isaako, is also back after last donning the black jersey during the Kiwis' 2019 tour of Great Britain.
From the Winner's sheds: Moses Leota
“It’s always a real thrill being able to bring new players into the Kiwi camp,” said New Zealand Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire of the new players.
“It’s a special place and these men have earned the opportunity. They’ll benefit so much from being around players who have done the jersey proud.
“This series is exciting for the game in New Zealand and also a chance for us to start our journey to the next World Cup in 2026.”
Match: Kiwis v Toa Samoa
Week 2 -
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
The Kiwis will open their Pacific Championships campaign on October 21 when they face Samoa at Eden Park before travelling to Melbourne the following week to take on the Kangaroos at AAMI Park on October 28.
The final is scheduled for November 4 at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton.
Kiwis Pacific Championships squad
- Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Storm)
- Dylan Brown (Eels)
- Fa'amanu Brown (Knights)
- James Fisher-Harris (Panthers)
- Kieran Foran (Titans)
- Wiremu Greig (Eels)
- Jahrome Hughes (Storm)
- Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins)
- Keano Kini (Titans)
- Moses Leota (Panthers)
- Danny Levi (Raiders)
- Joseph Manu (Roosters)
- Ronaldo Mulitalo (Sharks)
- Griffin Neame (Cowboys)
- Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Warriors)
- Briton Nikora (Sharks)
- Isaiah Papali'i (Wests Tigers)
- Joseph Tapine (Raiders)
- Leo Thompson (Knights)
- Matthew Timoko (Raiders)
- Naufahu Whyte (Roosters)