St Helens boom forward Luke Thompson could make a return to action this weekend after being named in Wayne Bennett’s 21 man squad to take on New Zealand in the second test on Saturday.
The Dream team representative and Harry Sunderland trophy winner in the Grand Final defeat of Salford, took a knock to the ribs early on in the defeat to Tonga and missed the first Test defeat to New Zealand last weekend. However he is back in full training and could be involved in the rematch in Christchurch.
Also included in the squad is Warrington Wolves back row forward Jack Hughes, A former centre in his younger playing days is likely to revert back to that position to make his debut on Saturday. This means Wigan Warriors full back Zac Hardaker who has had little impact at centre over the past two games will move to the wing to cover the injured Ryan Hall.
Sydney Roosters wing man Hall dislocated his knee in the final minutes of last weeks test and as returned make to his club for ongoing medical treatment.
Other than the inclusion of Hughes and the possible return of Thompson Bennett is expected to keep faith with the majority of the team that as so far suffered two defeats out of two on this historic Great Britian tour.
Their opponents New Zealand have also been forced into making chances as Stand Off Kieran Foran has been ruled out after suffering a dislocated shoulder just 12 minutes into his International comeback game last week. Foran who’s career has been blighted by injury was making his first Kiwi appearance for two years and had replaced Shaun Johnson who was dropped after his performance in the defeat to Australia.
Johnson has since been recalled and will again partner skipper Benji Marshall in the halves, while Brandon Smith is also expected to regain his starting spot at hooker after being a late withdrawal from the side last weekend.
Also in the pack, last weeks match winner Kenny Bromwich who’s wonder tackle prevented Great Britian from levelling the game in the dying minutes is rated as 50/50 due to the immediate birth of his second child.
New Zealand (from): Tuivasa-Sheck, Maumalo, Nicoll-Klokstad, Manu, Isaako, Johnson, Marshall, Tetevano, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Nikora, Harawira-Naera, Tapine, Nikorima, Proctor, Ah Mau, Blair, Hughes, Hamlin-Uele, Bromwich, Simonsson, Papal'i.
Great Britain (from): Lomax, McGillvary, Hughes, Connor, Hardaker, Widdop, Hastings, Hill, Hodgson, Burgess, Bateman, Whitehead, Graham, Jones, Philbin, Clark, Walmsley, Austin, Williams, Thompson, Coote.
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