Four debutants named in Kangaroos team - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Four debutants named in Kangaroos team

04/11/2010 01:50:49 PM Comments (0)

Australia coach Tim Sheens insists selecting Todd Carney and Darius Boyd for Saturday's Four Nations rugby league clash with New Zealand is form-related, and not just to rest captain Darren Lockyer and Billy Slater.

Carney and Boyd replace Lockyer and Slater at five eighth and fullback respectively, and are two of seven changes named in the Kangaroos side to take on the Kiwis at Auckland's Eden Park.

Carney, Dean Young, Chris Lawrence and Matt Scott will all make their international debuts, with Greg Bird and David Shillington also coming into the starting line-up and Robbie replacing Anthony Watmough on the bench.

The two unbeaten teams have already qualified to meet again in Saturday week's series final in Brisbane and Sheens admitted Slater and Lockyer would be playing had this match been the final.

But he said impressive form shown by Boyd and Carney, who was named RLIF International Player of the Year on Wednesday, in training and during the NRL season had been a big factor in his decision.

"Billy has as shoulder injury that he has been managing and Darren has taken some pretty heavy knocks and it's well known that at the back end of the season he had some significant issues with injury," Sheens told AAP.

"Darren could play if he had to, but I am very confident with these two lads coming into the side.

"Positions six and one seem to be the argument that everyone is having about the team but there is no doubt that Carney and Boyd have been in better form all year than their counterparts and I don't think we lose anything by giving those two a chance."

Hooker Cameron Smith takes over as captain in Lockyer's absence.

However, Sheens revealed that his Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah would see plenty of game time from the bench, in a move that could be repeated in next week's final.

"I intend to use Farah and Cameron the same way the Kiwis use their two hookers," Sheens said.

"Robbie will be used to improve our dummy-half speed in the same way Isaac Luke does for the Kiwis, so don't be surprised to see Robbie come on when Luke does.

"This is so we can counter-balance that threat and add some dash to our ruck area.

"I am experimenting with that idea with one eye on the final. The Kiwis have named a very mobile pack and they are intending to go through our bigger men and we have to have the dash to come back through them."

Australia: Darius Boyd, Brett Morris, Brent Tate, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri, Todd Carney, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (capt), Dave Shillington, Greg Bird, Sam Thaiday, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Dean Young, Petero Civoniceva, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Robbie Farah, Kurt Gidley.

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