Blair and Luke to lead Kiwis

New Zealand's squad to face England features six uncapped players, including Jordan Kahu, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Curtis Rona.

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Blair and Luke to lead Kiwis play

Blair and Luke to lead Kiwis

(Omni Sport)
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Adam Blair and Issac Luke have been named as co-captains of New Zealand's touring side to face England in three rugby league internationals next month.

Simon Mannering, the usual skipper of the Kiwis, was ruled out of the tour earlier this week due to gastric issues.

And coach Stephen Kearney has now handed senior roles to Blair and Luke, while also naming six uncapped players.

Jordan Kahu, Tuimoala Lolohea, Curtis Rona, Kodi Nikorima, Isaac Liu and Sio Siua Taukeiaho are the new faces in the New Zealand party.

"There's nothing we can do about the players that are unavailable," said Kearney.

"They're all injuries that we have no control over, but they give opportunities to some younger guys, who perhaps only need that opportunity to rise to the next level."

Explaining the decision to name veteran Brisbane Broncos prop Blair - a try-scorer in the 2008 World Cup final - as one of his captains, Kearney added: "I think, in big games, he has delivered for us before.

"He's been in the programme for quite some time and knows what"s expected - I see it as a natural choice.

"Issac is [also] very highly respected within the group and, again, has been part of the programme for a long time. He's definitely one that's grown over the course of his Kiwis career, both as a footballer and a leader."


New Zealand squad: Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Alex Glenn, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku, Jordan Kahu, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tuimoala Lolohea, Isaac Liu, Issac Luke, Ben Matulino, Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Kodi Nikorima, Kevin Proctor, Curtis Rona, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Jason Taumalolo, Martin Taupau, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare.

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