Thomas Leuluai returns to New Zealand team for Tonga clash

Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai will win his 40th cap after being recalled by New Zealand for Saturday’s crunch World Cup clash with Tonga.

Leuluai was rested, along with another veteran, Simon Mannering, for the 74-6 win over Scotland but will be back in the No 9 jersey for the Group B decider in Hamilton.

Kodi Nikorima will partner Shaun Johnson at half-back and Jordan Rapana returns to the wing, with Te Maire Martin and Peta Hiku both dropping out despite scoring hat-tricks against Scotland.

New Zealand: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Dean Whare, Brad Takairangi, Jordan Rapana, Kodi Nokorima, Shaun Johnson; Martin Tapau, Thomas Leulai, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Simon Mannering, Joseph Tapine, Adam Blair (c).

Interchange: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Russell Packer, Isaac Liu, Danny Levi.