Kidwell expects debutants to shine
New Zealand will send four Test rookies into battle against Scotland this weekend, but coach David Kidwell has insisted he has no concerns about how they will handle the occasion.
With usual first-choice options Jason Taumalolo, Kevin Proctor, Jordan Kahu, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jordan Rapana and Lewis Brown all rested, and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves still overcoming a knee injury, the Kiwis will be without a combined total of 84 Tests worth of experience for the clash.
But speaking ahead of the match on Saturday morning (AEDT), Kidwell backed his new-look side to perform, in what will likely be a must-win if New Zealand are to progress to the November 20 final at Anfield in Liverpool.
"These guys are in this team for a reason and they belong in this team," Kidwell said.
"They have earned their spot, I think they have really trained hard and helped the guys in the 17 prepare for the Tests before (against England and Australia).
"They are really excited, to see the look on their faces when I told them they were going to make their debut was really exciting for not only me as the coach, but the whole team.
"They get to show what they are capable of and take their opportunity."
The re-jigged Kiwi 17 sees Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - the only addition this week who has been capped by New Zealand previously - start at fullback, with Warriors utility David Fusitu'a on the wing.
Raiders back-rower Joseph Tapine is joined by Penrith duo James Fisher-Harris and Te Maire Martin on the bench.
Despite some New Zealand players saying last week that they hoped to see their top 17 take the field against the Bravehearts, captain Jesse Bromwich said the playing group were completely on board with Kidwell's decision.
"For me I think everyone deserves a game, we have come over here and have worked so hard and this is their reward," Bromwich said.
"I am looking forward to it, there are a couple of young fellas debuting and I get to be a part of it.
"They are going to remember it for the rest of their lives and I know they are going to go out there and do a good job."