Kiwis name ANZAC league Test squad - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwis name ANZAC league Test squad

30/04/2006 06:38:43 PM Comments (0)

New Zealand has named three uncapped Test players in an expanded 19-man squad for the Anzac rugby league Test against Australia in Brisbane on Friday night.

Brisbane winger Tame Tupou, Manly centre Steve Matai and South Sydney second rower David Fa'alogo were the newcomers to international football.

As expected, the squad included mercurial Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall, who is making a quicker than expected return from a shoulder injury suffered three weeks ago.

Also picked was star backrower Sonny Bill Williams, who played a full 80 minutes in the Bulldogs' 30-16 win over the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL on Sunday.

It was Williams's first appearance in the Bulldogs' starting lineup since his return to action a fortnight ago after 10 months out with injury. He played centre.

Also included was skipper Ruben Wiki, who was in line for a world record-extending 51st Test appearance, but who was a late withdrawal from the Warriors' side on Sunday.

Wiki suffered a hamstring strain in training on Saturday, but was rated by club coach Ivan Cleary as a good chance to be right in time to face the Kangaroos.

The prop was one of four Warriors in the squad, although there was a question mark over one of them.

Lock Louis Anderson was put on report for a high tackle on Bulldogs opposite Tony Grimaldi and faces an anxious wait until Monday to find out if he will be charged.

The squad, which will be reduced to the playing 17 on Tuesday, features just two players from England's Super League - St Helens prop Jason Cayless and London halfback Thomas Leuluai.

Missing is Wakefield forward David Solomona, who was in line for selection but has become stranded in England because of passport problems.

Coach Brian McClennan said the three new caps were chosen because of the impact they could bring to a game.

He described them as aggressive runners who were savage in their defence.

While Tupou had been tipped as a starting replacement for the injured Manu Vatuvei, and Matai had been championed by Manly coach Des Hasler, Fa'alogo's selection was a bit of surprise.

McClennan admitted that Fa'alogo, 25, was "a bit of bolter", but said he was a player for the future.

"He's a big man and he's got quick footwork," he told Sky TV.

"In defence, he hits hard. He's got good aggression and that's the type of player we are playing with."

McClennan said what had counted against Fa'alogo being noticed was that he was playing in a struggling team.

He added that he couldn't comment on Anderson being put on report until he found out whether the player was being charged.

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