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AS IT HAPPENED: New Zealand claim the Pacific Champs with epic Kangaroos thrashing

4th November, 2023
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4th November, 2023
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The Pacific Championships conclude Australia and New Zealand face off in a blockbuster decider in Hamilton. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 3pm (AEDT).

After dusting up the Kiwis by 36-18 on the 28th of October and doing a similar job on Samoa a fortnight earlier, Australia has qualified for the final of this unique tournament, where the old foe New Zealand waits with a home advantage and a chance to upset the applecart.

It has been a mighty long season for most of the players involved, with two months of additional matches and training having taken place for many of the combatants. Whilst an interesting event, the football has not been of a high standard in terms of the opposition posed to the Aussies, yet the Kangaroos have looked very polished and as professional as always, with neither the Kiwis nor Samoa mounting a serious threat to them across the full 80 minutes.

New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has stuck with the same team that lost to the Australians just a week ago, showing faith in a group that he believes in and can see holding the trophy aloft come Sunday evening. Much has been made around a potential move for Joseph Manu to full-back, yet Maguire has stuck solid in the hope that a home field and crowd will lift his team to something special in the final.

The side they will face looks ominous, with Nicho Hynes, Jake Trbojevic and Tom Flegler now on the reserves list and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Payne Haas and Liam Martin brought back into the 17.

Despite the change of seasons and a multitude of sports taking place right around the globe, rugby league eyes will be fixed on the Kangaroos, attempting to reassert their dominance on international play. Recent years have presented some evidence of a potential changing of the guard, yet Australia looks likely to claim another title and remain the dominant side in world rugby league.

Prediction

It simply looks a bridge too far for the Kiwis in this one, although a quick start and an early lead could well change the narrative.

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The Kangaroos will power home late and barring a sloppy first 40 minutes, will be cruising downwind late in the match and stride to a confident 20-point win.

Game information

Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Kick-off: 3pm (AEDT)
TV: Nine Network, Fox League
Streaming: 9Now, Kayo Sports
Betting: Australia $1.24, New Zealand $4.10 – odds via PlayUp

Teams

Australia

1. James Tedesco (c) 2. Dylan Edwards 3. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 4. Kotoni Staggs 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Cameron Munster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Payne Haas 9. Ben Hunt 10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 11. Cameron Murray 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo

Interchange: 14. Harry Grant 15. Lindsay Collins 16. Patrick Carrigan 17. Reuben Cotter

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New Zealand

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 (c) 9. Kieran Foran 10. Moses Leota 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Briton Nikora 13. Joe Tapine

Interchange: 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 16. Griffin Neame 17. Leo Thompson

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