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Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Wednesday, 20 October 2010 10:54 UK

Wigan hooker Thomas Leuluai named in New Zealand side

Four Nations - New Zealand v England
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington Date: Sat, 23 October Kick-off: 0800 BST
Coverage: Live coverage on BBC One and BBC Sport website from 0730 BST, with live coverage on BBC 5 live sports extra from 0800

Thomas Leuluai
Leuluai scored a try for New Zealand against Samoa at the weekend

Wigan's Thomas Leuluai has been chosen to start at hooker for New Zealand against England in Saturday's opening Four Nations match in Wellington.

Leuluai has lost the scrum-half jersey to Nathan Fien but has been preferred to Issac Luke at hooker.

Former Leeds forward Greg Eastwood is also named in the New Zealand side having recently returned to Canterbury.

Wests Tigers' Benji Marshall skippers the side at the Westpac Stadium and he will partner Fien in the halves.

It is the same midfield playmaking triangle which helped New Zealand win the World Cup final in 2008.


Fien says his side are still smarting from their 20-12 defeat by England in last year's Four Nations Series which cost them a place in the final.

"Obviously it's a big challenge. England are going to be brimming with confidence after last year and we're going to have to be at our best even to match them," said Fien.

"These are tournaments where you can't take your foot off the gas because it is so short. You've got to be going from the word go."

Although he has played hooker most of the season for his club, Fien is happy to go along with his coach's plans.

"If you get the opportunity to wear the black jumper, you do whatever is required. Mooks (Stephen Kearney) has given us these specific jobs this weekend.

"I'm looking forward to pairing up with Benji again. Obviously it's a different role. I've got to lead the boys around with a bit of talk and direction but that's something I've got used to. I've done it previously and it's a role I enjoy."

New Zealand: L Hohia (Warriors); J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney oosters), J Sa'u (Newcastle), M Vatuvei (Warriors); B Marshall (Wests Tiger, capt), N Fien (St George Illawarra); G Eastwood (Leeds), T Leuluai (Wigan), A Blair (Melbourne), S Mannering (Warriors), B Harrison (Canberra), J Smith (St George Illawarra).
Subs: B Matulino (Warriors), I Luke (South Sydney), F Pritchard (Penrith), F-P Nuaasalia (Sydney Roosters).

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see also
Fresh doubts over Tomkins fitness
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Graham named as England captain
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Hayne ruled out of Four Nations
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Young England seek new leader
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Morley ruled out of Four Nations
17 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Minnows show potential
16 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
New Zealand Maori 18-18 England
16 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Team spirit key to England glory
13 Oct 10 |  Rugby League

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