Match Preview - New Zealand v Samoa

Match Preview - New Zealand v Samoa

New Zealand V Toa Samoa 

Saturday 1st November 2014, 3.00am (GMT) at Northland Events Centre (Toll Stadium), Whangarei

After their fantastic win over Australia, New Zealand welcome Samoa to Whangarei on Saturday knowing another victory will all but confirm their place in the Four Nations Final.

New Zealand Coach Kearney recalls influential Hooker Isaac Luke after suspension, along with veteran winger Manu Vatuvei. Prop Suai Matagi could start on the bench for New Zealand having represented Samoa at last year's World Cup similarly Frank Pritchard will switch to Samoa on similar ancestry grounds.

Whangarei's Toll Stadium will host a Rugby League international for the first time against Samoa with hometown favourite Adam Blair set to make his 29th appearance for the Black and Whites.

Toa Samoa pushed England close last week and Coach Matt Parish recalls Wests Tigers forward Sauaso Sue to the bench following disciplinary issues. Bulldogs Winger Tim Lafai starts along with Warriors Prop Isaac Liu and Wakefield's Pita Godinet, after his two try performance against Steve McNamara's men.

These two played out an enthralling and memorable game at the Halliwell Jones last year and hopefully this game will be just as good.

Teams

New Zealand: P Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), D Whare (Penrith Panthers), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), M Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors); K Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), S Johnson (New Zealand Warriors); J Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), I Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), A Blair (Wests Tigers), S Mannering (New Zealand Warriors, capt), K Proctor (Melbourne Storm), J Taumalolo (North Queensland)

Replacements: L Brown (Penrith Panthers), S Matagi (New Zealand Warriors), M Taupau (Wests Tigers), T Harris (Melbourne Storm), B Thompson (Wests Tigers)

Samoa: T Simona (Wests Tigers); A Winterstein (North Queensland), T Lafai (Canterbury Bulldogs), J Leilua (Newcastle), D Vidot (Brisbane); B Roberts (Melbourne), K Stanley (St George Illawarra); I Liu (Sydney Roosters), P Godinet (Wakefield Wildcats), D Fa'alogo (Newcastle), F Pritchard (Canterbury Bulldogs), L Ah Mau (St George Illawarra), J McGuire (Brisbane)

Replacements:  D Lui (Manly Sea Eagles), J Sene-Lefao (Manly), S Sue (Wests Tigers), M Masoe (St Helens), D Peyroux (New Zealand Warriors), P Manumalealii (Cronulla Sharks) 

Key Battles

Hawera born Issac Luke burst onto the scene with South Sydney in 2007 and narrowly missed out on the Dally M Rookie of the Year Award to Israel Folau after a great season. The Hooker has since made 168 first grade appearances scoring 33 tries making his Kiwi bow in 2008. Luke was part of the 2008 World Cup winning squad, coming off the bench in the Final against Australia and has become a crucial cog for the Kiwis.

Wakefield's Pita Godinet caused England problems last weekend with a brilliant two-try performance and will need to be on top form again this week. The former New Zealand Warrior moves up from the bench for Matt Parish's side.

Sydney City Rooster's Shaun Kenny-Dowall was one of only three ever presents during the Clubs 2013 Premiership winning season, such was his importance to Trent Robinson. The big Centre has crossed for 95 tries in 176 first grade games and was a member of New Zealand's 2010 Four Nations winning side.

Tim Lafai lines up in the Centre position for Samoa having helped Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs make the 2014 Grand Final. Lafai made three appearances at the 2013 World Cup and is fast becoming one of the best Centres in the world.

Having made his Melbourne debut in 2008, Kevin Proctor went on to win Young Player of the Year for his Club before making his Kiwis debut in the 2011 Four Nations. A key member of Craig Bellamy's side he will be looking to further enhance his reputation with a big performance against Samoa.

In the opposite pack Frank Pritchard, winner of 27 caps for the Kiwis will come up against his former team mates. Nicknamed ‘The Tank', Pritchard has a wealth of NRL experience and will be vital for Toa Samoa if they are to get the win.

New Zealand - WWLLW

W 30-12 V Australia, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 25th October 2014 - Four Nations
L 30-18 V Australia, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, 2nd May 2014 - ANZAC Test

L 34-2 V Australia, Old Trafford, Manchester, 30th November 2013 - World Cup Final      

W 20-18 V England, Wembley Stadium, London, 23rd November 2013 - World Cup semi-final

W 40-4 V Scotland, Headingly Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, 15th November 2013 - World Cup quarter-finals

Samoa - WLWLL

L 32-26 V England, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 25th October 2014 - Four Nations

L 18-12 V USA, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, 19th July 2014 - Friendly              

W 32-16 V Fiji, Sportingbet Stadium, Penrith, 3rd May 2013 - Four Nations qualifier          

L 22-4 V Fiji, Halliwell Jones Stadium, 17th November 2013 - World Cup quarter-finals      

W 22-6 V France, Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan, 11th November 2013 - World Cup Group B

Say what?
New Zealand Second Rower Kevin Proctor on last week's result and preparation for Samoa: "We are not dwelling on the win (against Australia) and are always striving to improve our game. I think the boys have done that, the preparation has been really good this week. I think Samoa look pretty dangerous, we have got to be on our game this week."

Samoa Coach Matt Parish on New Zealand: "It's one of the strongest Kiwi teams I've seen on paper for a long time. But I think if we turn up and play our A-grade game and we play as a team like we did last week we can definitely compete, we just need to fix up a few bits and pieces."

TV Coverage

LIVE - Saturday, 03:00am GMT, Premier Sports

Four Nations Highlights, Sun 2 Nov, 17:00 GMT, BBC Two

Four Nations Highlights, Sun 2 Nov, 22:00 GMT, BBC Red Button

 

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