14 Nov 2008

Kearney finally loses patience with Leuluai

7:16 am on 14 November 2008

The Kiwis coach Steve Kearney has finally lost patience with the form of Thomas Leuluai, moving him from halfback to hooker for the rugby league world cup semi final against England in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Leuluai was heavily criticised for failing to control the game when the Kiwis lost to Australia in their opening match and again in the first half of last weekend's final round pool win over England.

It means that Isaac Luke, who played well at hooker in the match against England, drops to the interchange bench.

Nathan Fien will play at halfback with other changes from last weekend seeing backrower Sika Manu return to the line-up, having recovered from an eye injury.

Back too is Nathan Cayless, winger Sam Perrett and interchange prop Sam Rapira.

Simon Mannering will start at centre in place of the injured Steve Matai, who has ongoing shoulder problems.