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Foran expects brief taste at top level

06/11/2009 07:54:20 PM Comments (0)

Manly teenager Kieran Foran will make his rugby league Test debut for New Zealand on Saturday fully expecting to be dropped after just one game.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney delivered a selection surprise by naming 19-year-old Foran in the centres as a replacement for Steve Matai (eye) for this weekend's Four Nations match against England at Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield.

In doing so, Kearney again overlooked the claims of Parramatta's Krisnan Inu while the Sydney Roosters' Sia Soliola stays in the back row.

But Foran, who thought he would be a spectator for the entire trip, immediately predicted he would be back in the grandstand for the November 14 final, should New Zealand qualify.

"I think Steve (Matai) will be right - he's just got to miss this week and he'll be alright for the final," Foran told NZPA.

"I wasn't really, coming on this tour expecting to get a game.

"I just wanted to get some experience, keep my head down and try and train as hard as I can.

"I was overwhelmed. It's a bit of a shock. I'm very happy."

It is a swift reward for Foran's decision to align himself with the Kiwis despite having moved to Australia at a tender age and representing the green-and-golds at schoolboy level.

He said Inu and Soliola had congratulated him on his selection.

"They've been fine about it. They're happy for me to get a game."

While he switches between the halves and centres for the Sea Eagles, Foran will be staying out wide Saturday in what is a de facto tournament semi-final.

Coach Stephen Kearney said in a statement: "We had some options in terms of a replacement for Steve but when we looked at it, Kieran is the player we believe best suits our needs for this game.

"He's a confident young player who has been working really hard ever since we came into camp and he certainly deserves this chance."

Foran is the third Toyota Cup player to make his debut for the Kiwis in the last month. Kearney named six reserves, with two to be omitted.

Jeff Lima is back from his ankle problem but Bronson Harrison is still out with a similar affliction.

England have called up Hull KR winger Peter Fox while five-eighth Danny McGuire and centre Lee Smith have joined flanker Tom Briscoe in being dropped after last week's 26-16 loss to Australia.

Kyle Eastmond of St Helens comes into the halves and Chris Bridge into the centres.

Coach Tony Smith has now used all but two of his tournament squad.

Sam Burgess, whose rematch with Fuifui Moimoi has been the focus of pre-match publicity, is on the bench.

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