Michael Maguire has named seven fresh faces in his New Zealand squad to face England in Denver.
With stars such as Jesse Bromwich, Kieran Foran, Benji Marshall and Jordan Rapana all ruled out through injury and New Zealand Warriors’ trio of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Tohu Harris making themselves unavailable for the game, Maguire has had to turn to inexperience for their trip to the US.
Kan Maumalo (Warriors), Jamayne Isaako (Broncos), Esan Marsters (Tigers), Leeson Ah Mau (Dragons), Herman Ese’ese (Knights), Slade Griffin (Knights) and Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs) have all been named to potentially make their debuts for the Kiwis.
“We have a group of players here who have all been in great form so far this season and totally deserve this chance,” new coach Maguire said in a statement.
“What has really struck home is just how passionate the players have been when talking to them about playing for the Kiwis and about this test. They’re busting to be involved.”
The Kiwis fly out of Sydney for the United States on Monday morning.
Kiwis squad to face England: Leeson Ah Mau (Dragons), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Storm), Herman Ese’ese (Knights), Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs), James Fisher-Harris (Panthers), Slade Griffin (Knights), Peta Hiku (Warriors), Jamayne Isaako (Broncos), Jordan Kahu (Broncos), Isaac Liu (Roosters), Issac Luke (Warriors), Te Maire Martin (Cowboys), Esan Marsters (Tigers), Ken Maumalo (Warriors), Kodi Nikorima (Broncos), Joseph Tapine (Raiders), Martin Taupau (Sea Eagles), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Panthers).
For more on the Denver test between England and New Zealand, see Monday’s League Express.