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Wiki to captain Warriors at NRL Nines

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/01/2017

Ruben Wiki. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Ruben Wiki. He may have called time on his NRL career more than eight years ago but 44-year Ruben Wiki will lead the Warriors at the NRL Nines next weekend.

The former Kiwis captain will skipper a side containing a handful of players who hadn't been born when he was starring for the Canberra Raiders in the 1990s.

"I'm still buzzing about having the chance to play the Nines and now being asked to be captain as well takes it to another level," said Wiki.

"It was humbling to be selected in the first place. To be leading the boys at Eden Park will be one of the highlights of my career."

Coach Stephen Kearney said it was an easy decision to name him captain.

"He's a leader whatever he does and has so much mana," he said.

Joining Wiki in the Warriors for the fourth edition of the tournament will be Shaun Johnson, Ryan Hoffman, Tuimoala Lolohea, Solomone Kata and Blake Ayshford who have featured at the previous three events.

The side also includes 18-year-olds Lewis Soosemea and Isaiah Papalii who featured in the club's NYC side last season and three others are aged under 20.

"We've rewarded a lot of younger players for the way they've trained throughout the off-season," Kearney said.

The Warriors are in the same pool as Manly, Parramatta and St George Illawarra for the February 4-5 tournament at Auckland's Eden Park.

Warriors: 1 Ryan Hoffman, 2 Junior Pauga, 3 Matt Allwood, 4 Blake Ayshford, 5 Ata Hingano, 6 Solomone Kata,

7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Ruben Wiki (capt), 9 Mason Lino, 10 Bunty Afoa, 11 James Gavet, 12 Tuimoala Lolohea, 13 Jazz Tevaga, 14 Ofahiki Ogden, 15 Lewis Soosemea, 16 Toafofoa Sipley, 17 Isaiah Papalii, 18 James Bell.

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