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Pacific Championships Team Lists: Meninga delays decision on sick Munster, Jillaroos bring in new faces

27th October, 2023
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27th October, 2023
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Nicho Hynes will get his chance to prove he belongs in the representative ranks when he makes his Kangaroos debut in Saturday’s Pacific Championships clash with New Zealand.

Hynes and prop Tom Flegler are the only debutants in coach Mal Meninga’s 17-man line-up for the AAMI Park showdown which serves as a warm-up to next weekend’s final at Auckland’s Eden Park.

Both teams have already qualified for the decider after emphatic wins over Samoa in the opening two rounds. 

Cameron Munster had been in doubt after being quarantined with an illness. Meninga said on Friday he expected the star No.6 to take part in their final hit-out late Friday before a call will be made on whether he will tackle the Kiwis, with Hynes on stand-by.

“He’s (Munster’s) a lot better but he probably needs to get all his energy back so we’ve still got well over 24 hours before the kick off so we’ll see what happens.

“I think he’ll be ready to play – he wants to play so it’s just up to his energy levels and to see if he’s up to a Test match.”

Valentine Holmes has been recalled after serving a one-game ban for being photographed with a bag of unidentified white powder during end-of-season Cowboys celebrations.

He will replace Selwyn Cobbo on the wing. 

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 14: Nicho Hynes of the Kangaroos looks on during the Mens Pacific Championship match between Australia Kangaroos and Samoa at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on October 14, 2023 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Nicho Hynes. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Payne Haas and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui have been rested after starting in the front row against Samoa with Jake Trbojevic and Tom Flegler. 

Reuben Cotter has been elevated to the back row with Liam Martin back in the reserves. 

“They’re all great players who deserve the opportunity to represent their country,” Meninga said.

“It’s really important that our full squad gets exposure to the intensity of international football to build confidence and match fitness for the duration of the Pacific Championships.

 “Having all players take the field over the course of the first two games means we will be much better placed to handle any of the unknowns, like the possibility of injury or suspension, heading into a final.”

The Kiwis have listed Kieran Foran at No.9 after naming him on the bench then starting him in the 50-0 thrashing of Samoa last Saturday. 


Fa’amanu Brown will be his back-up on the bench. 

Wests Tigers star Jakiya Whitfeld will make her Test debut on the wing ahead of Julia Robinson (personal reasons) for the Jillaroos while Lauren Brown has replaced Keeley Davis at hooker.

Cowboys hooker Emma Manzelmann will makes her Test debut off the bench while Yasmin Clydsdale has also been added to the interchange with Caitlan Johnston out.

In the Sunday match, Justin Olam is the big absence for hosts Papua New Guinea, with their star man missing the clash with Fiji with a knee injury.

Their Super League contingent is back on deck after missing the win over the Cook Islands, with livewire hooker Edwin Ipape and goalkicking backrower Rhyse Martin in the run-on side, forcing Judah Rimbu and Jacob Alick to the bench.

Fiji also call in some English-based talent with King Vuniyayawa into the front row, with Gordon Whippy shifting to the interchange.


Pacific Championship teams

all times AEDT

Australian Jillaroos vs NZ Kiwi Ferns: Saturday, October 28, AAMI Park, Melbourne at 6pm

Jillaroos: 1. Tamika Upton 2. Jaime Chapman 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Jakiya Whitfeld 6. Tarryn Aiken 7. Ali Brigginshaw 8. Shannon Mato 9. Lauren Brown 10. Jessika Elliston 11. Kezie Apps 12. Olivia Kernick 13. Simaima Taufa 14. Emma Tonegato 15. Yasmin Clydsdale 16. Kennedy Cherrington 17. Emma Manzelmann 18. Shaylee Bent 18. Lauren Brown 19. Shenae Ciesiolka 20. Teagan Berry 21. Keeley Davis

Kiwi Ferns: 1. Apii Nicholls 2. Leianne Tufuga 3. Mele Hufanga 4. Abigail Roache 5. Shanice Parker 6. Tyla Nathan-Wong 7. Raecene Mcgregor 8. Mya Hill-Moana 9. Brooke Anderson 10. Angelina Teakaraanga Katoa 11. Anessa Biddle 12. Otesa Pule 13. Georgia Hale 14. Ash Quinlan 15. Najvada George 16. Jasmine Fogavini 17. Tiana Davison 18. Liaison Albert-Jones 19. Cheyelle Robins-Reti 20. Capri Paekau 

Australian Kangaroos vs New Zealand: Saturday, October 28, AAMI Park, Melbourne at 8.10pm


Kangaroos: 1. James Tedesco 2. Dylan Edwards 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Kotoni Staggs 5. Val Holmes 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Jake Trbojevic 9. Ben Hunt 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Cameron Murray 12. Reuben Cotter 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Harry Grant 15. Lindsay Collins 16. Patrick Carrigan 17. Nicho Hynes 18. Liam Martin 19. Selwyn Cobbo 20. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 21. Payne Haas

Kiwis: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Ronaldo Mulitalo 3. Matt Timoko 4. Joey Manu 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. James Fisher-Harris 9. Kieran Foran 10. Moses Leota 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Briton Nikora 13. Joe Tapine 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 16. Griffin Neame 17. Leo Thompson 18. Naufahu Whyte 19. Danny Levi 20. Wiremu Greig 21. Keano Kini

PNG Kumuls v Fiji Bati: Sunday, October 29, Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby at 4.00pm

PNG Kumuls: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Robert Derby 3. Zac Laybutt 4. Benji Kot 5. Nene Macdonald 6. Kyle Laybutt 7. Lachlan Lam 8. Epel Kapinias 9. Edwin Ipape 10. Valentine Richard 11. Rhyse Martin 12. Dan Russell 13. Jack de Belin 14. Judah Rimbu 15. Wellington Albert 16. Keven Appo 17. Jacob Alick 18. Liam Horne 19. Nixon Putt 20. Junior Rop 21. Mackenzie Yei

Fiji Bati: 1. Jahream Bula 2. Maika Sivo 3. Sunia Turuva 4. Waqa Blake 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Kurt Donoghoe 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Tui Kamikamica 14. Noah Nailagoliva 10. King Vuniyayawa 11. Kitione Kautoga 13. Taane Milne 15. Caleb Navale 9. Penioni Tagituimua 12. Apisalome Saukuru 16. Gordon Whippy 19. Mesake Ravonu 18. Jason Qareqare 17. Watisoni Waqnaisaravi 20. Sirilo Lovokuro 21. Pio Seci

with AAP