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Four test rookies in Kiwis team to face Kangaroos

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Oct 2019, 1:27PM
Kiwis half Shaun Johnson has been selected for the Oceania Cup test against the Kangaroos on Friday. Copyright Image: Marc Shannon / www.photosport.nz. BTG
Kiwis half Shaun Johnson has been selected for the Oceania Cup test against the Kangaroos on Friday. Copyright Image: Marc Shannon / www.photosport.nz. BTG

Four test rookies in Kiwis team to face Kangaroos

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Oct 2019, 1:27PM

Four debutants including starting centre Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad have will line up for the Kiwis in Friday night's Oceania Cup test against the Kangaroos in Wollongong.

The 24-year-old Nicoll-Klokstad is one of four changes to the starting line-up used in the Kiwis' 34-14 win over Mate Ma'a Tonga in June.

The Canberra fullback replaces the injured Esan Marsters while Jamayne Isaako comes in for captain Dallin Watene-Zeleniak (also injured) on the right wing.

Leeson Ah Mau starts in the front row for Jesse Bromwich, out with a foot injury, and veteran Adam Blair comes into loose forward for Isaac Liu (knee).

Aside from Nicoll-Klokstad, the other debutants are all on the bench, with forwards Zane Tetevano, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Corey Harawira-Naera.

They fill vacancies created by Ah Mau moving into the starting line-up plus Nelson Asofa-Solomona being suspended and James Fisher-Harris injured.

It's a strong squad, but the pack has lost some firepower with the absence of the older Bromwich, Asofa-Solomona and Liu.

Along with Waerea-Hargreaves, Bromwich is the leader of the Kiwis pack while Asofa-Solomona provided a point of difference with his physical presence, ability to drag in multiple defenders and offload in traffic.

Blair's test pedigree can't be questioned but he had a poor 2019 season at the Warriors, dropped to reserve grade at one point, and will be targeted by the Australian pack.

Benji Marshall (34), playing just his second Test since 2012, has been recalled as captain seven years after last filling the role against the Kangaroos in Townsville.

This will be his 20th match as captain, taking him ahead of Gary Freeman for the record for the most Tests as Kiwi captain.

Blair also has a milestone in sight despite not being originally selected.

He was called up as a replacement for the World Cup 9s last week, going on to play in the final.

His appearance on Friday night takes him to 49 Tests with the chance of becoming just the second New Zealander to play 50 Tests in Saturday week's first Test against the touring Great Britain Lions.

New Zealand Kiwis v Australian Kangaroos
10.10pm, Friday, October 25, 2019
Win Stadium, Wollongong

Kiwis

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
2. Ken Maumalo (Warriors)
3. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Canberra Raiders)
4. Joseph Manu (Sydney Roosters)
5. Jamayne Isaako (Brisbane Broncos)
6. Shaun Johnson (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
7. Benji Marshall (C) (Wests Tigers)
8. Leeson Ah Mau (Warriors)
9. Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm)
10. Jared Waerea-HargreAves (Sydney Roosters)
11. Briton Nikora (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
12. Kenny Bromwich (Melbourne Storm)
13. Adam Blair (Warriors)

Interchange:

14. Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne Storm)
15. Zane Tetevano (Sydney Roosters)
16. Braden Hamlin-Uele (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
17. Corey Harawira-Naera (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
18. Kevin Proctor (Gold Coast Titans)
19. Bailey Simonsson (Canberra Raiders)
20. Kodi Nikorima (Warriors)
21. Isaiah Papali'i (Warriors)

(Four to be omitted)

Head Coach | Michael Maguire

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