Revealed: Just four Warriors set to play for Kiwis in Denver

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sat, 16 Jun 2018, 2:36PM
Newstalk ZB host Martin Devlin on the latest revelation out of the Kiwis camp that they won't have a captain against England in Denver. / Radio Sport
Newstalk ZB host Martin Devlin on the latest revelation out of the Kiwis camp that they won't have a captain against England in Denver. / Radio Sport

Revealed: Just four Warriors set to play for Kiwis in Denver

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Sat, 16 Jun 2018, 2:36PM

Just four Warriors will play for the Kiwis in next week's test against England in Denver, with stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Tohu Harris all unavailable for the match at Mile High Stadium.

Warriors hooker Issac Luke will make a return to the black and white jersey after missing selection for last year's World Cup, while in-form wing and former Samoan international Ken Maumalo has been called up to make his Kiwis debut.

The pair join unofficial Kiwis leader Adam Blair and backline utility Peta Hiku as the only Warriors players set to feature in new coach Michael Maguire's side when it is named tomorrow night (7.45pm NZT).

The club has previously declared only players that are 100 per cent fit would be available to play over the stand-alone representative weekend.

ohnson and backline utility Gerard Beale were ruled out of Kiwis contention, due to the fact both have recently returned from serious ankle and leg injuries.

Johnson came back last week after a month on the sidelines to turn in a stellar performance in the Warriors win over Manly in Christchurch, and backed-up to kick the match-winning field goal in last night's tense 23-16 NRL win over the Cowboys in Townsville.

Beale has impressed in four appearances for the Warriors since returning in round 11, but is still working his way back from a double leg fracture suffered while playing for the Kiwis against Samoa during last year's World Cup.

Tongan internationals David Fusitu'a (ankle) and Solomone Kata (hamstring) are also set to miss next Saturday's Pacific Test in Sydney through injury.

Second-rower Tohu Harris has been outstanding for the Warriors this season. Photo / Photosport.Second-rower Tohu Harris has been outstanding for the Warriors this season. Photo / Photosport.
However, the Herald understands Tuivasa-Sheck and Harris have made the decision to put club before country themselves, despite both coming through last night's match unscathed.

Tuivasa-Sheck made a successful return from an ankle injury that kept him out of last week's win over the Sea Eagles, scoring a brilliant individual try and having a hand in two others, as the Warriors claimed a rare away win at 1300Smiles Stadium.

The 25-year-old fullback's long-term health is vital to the Warriors hopes of making the finals for the first time since 2011, and he and Harris have made the call to stay home and rest ahead of their next game against Cronulla on June 29.

Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has previously said any players that turn out for the Kiwis would sit out the match against the Sharks, due to concerns over player welfare and recovery.

The Kiwis are due to return to New Zealand on Tuesday June 26, just three days before the round 16 match at Mt Smart Stadium.

Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was outstanding in last night's win over the Cowboys in Townsville. Photo / Photosport.Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was outstanding in last night's win over the Cowboys in Townsville. Photo / Photosport.

The quartet's unavailability further depletes the Kiwis stocks after former test captain Simon Mannering and front-row pair Russell Packer and Ben Matulino this week announced their retirement from test football.

Injuries to fellow former Kiwis captains Benji Marshall (calf), Jesse Bromwich (hamstring), and Kieran Foran (toe), and a hamstring injury to Raiders wing Jordan Rapana, have robbed the side of further class and experience.

It remains to be seen whether any further withdrawals impact on Maguire's plans for his first test in charge since replacing former Kiwis coach David Kidwell.

Sea Eagles prop Martin Taupau has expressed concerns about playing for the Kiwis and potentially being unavailable to turn out for Manly in their clash against Penrith on June 30.

Sydney Roosters front-rower Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was also on the fence about whether he would be available for selection, with the Tri-Colours scheduled to play Melbourne in Adelaide five days after the Denver test.