Internationals Weekly Watch: Week II
October 19, 2023
Eden Park the venue as Kiwis, Toa Sāmoa do battle
The Pacific Championships continue this week with Auckland’s Eden Park the scene for a highly anticipated clash between New Zealand and Sāmoa on Saturday.
Michael Maguire has named a quartet of debutants for the Kiwis – Matt Timoko lines up in the centres, Fa’amanu Brown at hooker, and Griffin Neame and Leo Thompson on the interchange.
James Fisher-Harris is the skipper and starts up front alongside Panthers teammate Moses Leota with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad at the back and Dylan Brown and Jahrome Hughes the halves.
Jamayne Isaako makes his return to the international arena on the wing with Joseph Manu and Ronaldo Mulitalo rounding out the back five and Isaiah Papali’i and Briton Nikora the edge forwards.
Sāmoa, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from their loss to the Kangaroos with Marion Seve replacing Young Tonumaipea in the centres the only change.
Gordon Chan Kum Tong has been named at nine with Justin Matamua on the bench after the pair swapped prior to kick-off a week ago whilst Stephen Crichton remains in the halves alongside Daejarn Asi.
The Kiwis enter the clash as favourites with bookmakers expecting them to book their place in the Pacific Championships Final alongside the Kangaroos, who they meet in the final group stage clash next week.
Kiwi Ferns eyeing first win of tournament vs. Mate Ma’a Tonga
Fresh off a narrow loss to the Jillaroos, the Kiwi Ferns will look to make amends against Mate Ma’a Tonga on Saturday afternoon at Eden Park.
Shanice Parker makes the move to fullback for the hosts with Tyla Nathan-Wong starting at six and Apii Nicholls and Ashleigh Quinlan dropping out.
Annessa Biddle shifts from the wing into the back row after a try-scoring debut a week ago with Cheyelle Robins-Reti debuting on the wing and Abigail Roache starting in the centres.
A number of NRLW standouts will feature for Tonga including Tiana Penitani, Vanessa Foliaki, China Polata, Cassey Tohi-Hiku, Dannii Perese, Tegan Dymock and Kalosipani Hopoate among others.
Penitani and Tohi-Hiku make up a dynamic halves pairing with Foliaki, Perese, and Dymock heading a powerful pack.
New Zealand open the clash as favourites after going the distance with the Jillaroos a week ago.
Fiji Bati take on Cook Islands Aitu in Port Moresby
Fiji Bati will make their first appearance since the World Cup when they take on the Cook Islands in Port Moresby on Sunday.
Jahream Bula debuts at the back for the Fijians whilst NRL Rookie of the Year Sunia Turuva shifts to the centres to partner Waqa Blake with Maika Sivo and Mikaele Ravalawa the wingers.
Kurt Donoghoe and Brandon Wakeham are the halves with Tui Kamikamica, Taane Milne, and Kitione Kautoga heading the forward pack.
For the Kukis, Esan Marsters shifts into the halves to accommodate the loss of Tevin Arona (face) with Alvin Maungaati lining up in the centres whilst William Samuel replaces Makahesi Makatoa (pec).
The Kukis enter this one as outsiders after a disappointing display against the Kumuls a week ago.
PNG Orchids meet with Cook Islands Moana
The PNG Orchids and Cook Islands Moana are back in action on Sunday afternoon in Port Moresby.
Skipper Elsie Albert is the big in for the hosts with Jessikah Reeves, Essay Banu, Sareka Mooka, Sera Koroi, Ua Ravu and Shellie Long the other players with NRLW experience who have been named.
Gloria Kaupa, Belinda Gwasamun, and Emily Veivers are the World Cup reps who again earn call-ups in what is their first outing since the tournament.
Ngatokotoru Arakua captains the Cook Islands with sisters Annemarie and Chantay Kiria-Ratu the one and six and Raider Kerehitina Matua on an edge.
Kiana Takairangi is in the centres with Anneka Stephens the lock and Crystal Tamarua and Jazmon Tupou-Witchman named on the bench.