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NZ's Tuivasa-Sheck fit for RLWC final

New Zealand have received a huge boost with in-form winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck passed fit for Saturday's Rugby League World Cup final.
NZ's Tuivasa-Sheck fit for RLWC final
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

MANCHESTER, England, Nov 29 AAP - New Zealand have received a huge boost with in-form winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck passed fit for Saturday's Rugby League World Cup final.

Kiwis assistant coach Ivan Cleary said both the Sydney Roosters star and fellow winger Manu Vatuvei had overcome injury concerns after the side trained at Old Trafford on Friday ahead of the showdown with Australia.

New Zealand skipper Simon Mannering said 20-year-old Tuivasa-Sheck had been the nation's player of the tournament so far and his inclusion was a significant boost for the Kiwis World Cup defence.

Tuivasa-Sheck was this week named winger of the year at the Rugby League International Federation awards dinner after taking his NRL club form into the World Cup.

His brace of tries in the Kiwis' 20-18 semi-final win over England at Wembley took his total to eight in just five games and he goes into the final needing only one more to equal the New Zealand World Cup record held by Richie Blackmore and Lesley Vainikolo.

"He's probably been our best player throughout the tournament," Mannering said of Tuivasa-Sheck, who had been battling a leg injury suffered in the thrilling win over England.

"It's his first Kiwi tour, his second year in the NRL and to be named the best winger in the world is pretty special for a 20-year-old.

"He's such a level-headed kid and a good guy and he's playing some outstanding football.

"It's a massive boost for the team knowing he's going to be out there tomorrow."

Vatuvei has overcome a groin problem, meaning veteran winger Jason Nightingale will drop out of the squad when Stephen Kearney finalises his team on Saturday.

New Zealand needed a last-minute Shaun Johnston try against England at Wembley to book a place in the final and Mannering believes the Saturday's match could also come down to one moment of magic.

"Every time you play Australia it's a hell of a battle and they test you throughout the whole game from start to finish," Mannering said.

"For us, it's a matter of us sticking with them and sticking to what we do.

"If we can go set-for-set with them and put ourselves in position where its scores level or pretty close, we back ourselves."


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