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The PNG Kumuls say the return of Parramatta Eels superstar Maika Sivo for Saturday's Oceania Cup Test in Christchurch gives Fiji Bati one of the best wing pairings in the world.

After missing Fiji's huge 44-18 win over Samoa last week due to suspension, Sivo will line up on the opposite flank to Storm flyer Suliasi Vunivalu against the Kumuls, who are playing their first Test since June.

Kumuls coach Michael Marum said this week much of his attention has been focused on finding ways to try and limit the powerhouse pair's impact early in sets.

"We know it's going to be tough out there with Sivo coming back into the team, and it's mainly their back three we are focusing on," Marum said.

"They bring the ball back really hard and lay a foundation for their team.

"That is where they start their sets, that's where they build momentum from, and after that they have a good forward pack and edges.

"If we can have a good kick-chase that will help. If you can make it hard for them on the first two tackles that works well."

Kumuls captain Rhyse Martin said much of the plan will be built around young half Kyle Laybutt's kicking game, with the former Cowboys player impressing in camp despite having only played his first Test earlier this year.

Match Highlights: Samoa v Fiji

"Fiji's wingers have been up there with the best wingers in the NRL competition all year, but Kyle is the right guy to try and stop them in that way," Martin said.

"He gets the ball up pretty high when he has to and finds the corners pretty well too.

"Kicking in behind them and making Sivo and Vunivalu turn around will be key.

Suliasi Vunivalu and Maika Sivo join forces this weekend.
Suliasi Vunivalu and Maika Sivo join forces this weekend. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"This is Kyle's second Test match but he's played a fair few other international games for PNG so far.

"He grows in confidence every time he plays. He had a good year for the [Townsville] Blackhawks this year.

"He's in the leadership group here and he needs to take control of the game again this weekend."

While preparation time for their 24-6 Oceania Cup loss to Samoa in June was limited, the Kumuls come to Christchurch on the back of last month's World Cup 9s in Sydney where combinations were built.

Last week the entire squad also headed back to Papua New Guinea on a bonding trip.

Match Highlights: Samoa v Papua New Guinea

Laybutt said that has been particularly important given they have 10 new players coming into the squad who weren't there mid-year.

Most notably the Kumuls will be without both of their usual hookers, with former captain James Segeyaro currently up against a provisional ASADA ban and Cowboys rake Kurt Baptiste missing through injury.

"It's been about familiarising yourself with each other and becoming comfortable, realising how everyone works and what the strengths and weaknesses are," Laybutt said.

"We've enjoyed each other's company but we have also worked really hard.

"Now I am just looking forward to this weekend and hopefully doing the country proud."

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