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Kangaroos name 20-man squad to face Kiwis in Anzac Test

The Roar logo The Roar 26/04/2017 Scott Pryde

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Mal Meninga has named his Kangaroos side to face the Kiwis in Canberra on May 5 for the final mid-year Anzac Test, favouring experience and sticking by many of the players who won the Four Nations last year.

While Meninga’s hand has been forced with some key injuries forcing veteran players out of the side, he has stuck by most of the side from last year’s final Test.

Greg Inglis and Matt Scott have both been ruled out for most of the NRL season with injury, and while the pair are a chance to return for the Rugby League World Cup, they aren’t available for Meninga’s squad.

They have been replaced by Will Chambers, who slots into the centres and will play inside Cronulla young gun Valentine Holmes.

The front row has undergone a total revamp. Matt Scott has been joined on the sidelines by Raiders prop Shannon Boyd, with Wests Tigers captain Aaron Woods and Bulldogs front-rower David Klemmer taking the eight and ten jerseys respectively.

There were questions over the fitness of Johnathan Thurston as well, but he has been named in the side with Mal Meninga citing his professionalism at the press conference.

Despite that, Michael Morgan has retained his utility spot on the bench while Sharks premiership winning half James Maloney, who is in the running to get another New South Blues jersey in the State of Origin series this year, has been included in the squad as a back-up in the halves.

Justin O’Neill and Shannon Boyd have also been named as cover in the 20-man squad.

“This is an incredibly important game for us, coming in a World Cup year,” Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga said.

Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga. © Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga. Cameron Smith will once again captain the side in his 50th Test and 27th as captain, becoming the second player to reach the half-century after legend Darren Lockyer.

“Any Test match is important, but the fact this will be Cameron’s 50th Test match certainly adds some extra significance,” said Meninga.

“Cameron’s incredible milestones will form a significant part of our week.”

Billy Slater was another in contention for the fullback spot after he made his return from injury a month ago, but he was overlooked for selection with Darius Boyd maintaining his spot at the back. Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan will again line up as a centre and wing combination, while Cooper Cronk joins Thurston in the halves.

Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett and Trent Merrin all retain their starting spots, while there are no changes to the bench from the victory over New Zealand in Perth last year.

The Kangaroos-Kiwis match headlines a bumper weekend of international rugby league. It will follow the Australian Jilaroos versus Kiwi Ferns women’s Test in Canberra, while the final City-Country fixture will be played in Mudgee on Sunday.

The Saturday will feature three international Test matches in Campbelltown, with the Cook Islands set to face Papua New Guinea, Tonga to play Fiji and Samoa to headline the afternoon against a travelling England side under the guidance of Wayne Bennett.

Full Kangaroos side to face Kiwis

1. Darius Boyd (Brisbane Broncos)

2. Blake Ferguson (Sydney Roosters)

3. Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra Dragons)

4. Will Chambers (Melbourne Storm)

5. Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks)

6. Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)

7. Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)

8. Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)

9. Cameron Smith (c) (Melbourne Storm)

10. David Klemmer (Canterbury Bulldogs)

11. Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)

12. Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos)

13. Trent Merrin (Penrith Panthers)


14. Michael Morgan (North Queensland Cowboys)

15. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)

16. Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)

17. Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)

18. Shannon Boyd (Canberra Raiders)

19. James Maloney (Cronulla Sharks)

20. Justin O’Neill (North Queensland Cowboys)

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