Luke Named Kiwi Co-Captain

Rabbitohs hooker, Issac Luke, has been named co-captain of the New Zealand Kiwis alongside Adam Blair for the side’s upcoming tour of England in October and November.

The duo have been named by head coach Stephen Kearney to share the role that became vacant when incumbent Simon Mannering was ruled out of the tour for medical reasons earlier this week.

Luke (Kiwi #749) has played 33 tests for New Zealand, two more than Blair, having made his debut in the 2008 Anzac Test and then coming off the bench for the World Cup triumph later that year.

He was a driving force in South Sydney’s 2014 premiership-winning campaign, and then led the Rabbitohs to victory at the 2015 Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines as skipper.

“Issac is very highly respected within the group and, again, has been part of the programme for a long time,” says Kearney.

“He’s definitely one that’s grown over the course of his Kiwis career, both as a footballer and a leader.”

Blair (Kiwi #732) debuted for New Zealand at the 2006 Tri-Nations and scored the final try in the Kiwis’ 2008 World Cup final victory over Australia. He returned to the national side last year after a three-year absence, and was a key contributor to Four Nations success and for his Brisbane Broncos club, en-route to this year’s NRL Grand Final.

“I think, in big games, he has delivered for us before,” says Kearney, who works daily with Blair as Brisbane Broncos assistant coach. “He’s been in the programme for quite some time and knows what’s expected – I see it as a natural choice.”

They will lead a 23-strong group that includes six rookies – utility backs Jordan Kahu and Tuimoala Lolohea, wing Curtis Rona, hooker/half Kodi Nikorima, and forwards Isaac Liu and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

“There’s nothing we can do about the players that are unavailable,” says Kearney. “They’re all injuries that we have no control over, but they give opportunities to some younger guys, who perhaps only need that opportunity to rise to the next level.”

 

The England tour itinerary is:

Friday, October 23           

v Leeds Rhinos @ Leeds

(8am, Oct 24 NZ)

 

Sunday, November 1                   

v England @Hull                              

(6am, Nov 2 NZ)

 

Saturday, November 7                

v England @ London                     

(3.30am, Nov 8 NZ)

 

Saturday, November 14                              

v England @ Wigan                        

(2am, Nov 15 NZ)

 

The NZ Kiwis squad to tour England in October/November is:

 

Gerard Beale                   

Cronulla Sharks                               

Kiwi #767                       

Debut 2011                      

Tests 7

 

Adam Blair                        

Brisbane Broncos                           

Kiwi #732                       

Debut 2006                     

Tests 31

 

Jesse Bromwich

Melbourne Storm

Kiwi 775                       

Debut 2012

Tests 14

 

Lewis Brown                    

Penrith Panthers                            

Kiwi #762                       

Debut 2011                     

Tests 8

 

Alex Glenn                        

Brisbane Broncos         

Kiwi #769                       

Debut 2011                     

Tests 10

 

Tohu Harris                       

Melbourne Storm                          

Kiwi #778                       

Debut 2013                     

Tests 7

 

Peta Hiku                            

Manly Sea Eagles                           

Kiwi #781                       

Debut 2014                     

Tests 6

 

Jordan Kahu                     

Brisbane Broncos                           

New Kiwi

                        -                              -

Shaun Kenny-Dowall    

Sydney Roosters                            

Kiwi #746                       

Debut 2007                     

Tests 14

 

Tuimoala Lolohea           

NZ Warriors                                      

New Kiwi

 

Isaac Liu                             

Sydney Roosters                            

New Kiwi

 

Issac Luke                          

South Sydney Rabbitohs             

Kiwi #749                       

Debut 2008                     

Tests 33

 

Ben Matulino                   

NZ Warriors                                      

Kiwi #756                       

Debut 2009                     

Tests 20

 

Sam Moa                           

Sydney Roosters                            

Kiwi #780                        

Debut 2013                     

Tests 5

 

Jason Nightingale           

St George Dragons                        

Kiwi #747                       

Debut 2008                     

Tests 25

 

Kodi Nikorima                  

Brisbane Broncos                           

New Kiwi

 

Kevin Proctor                   

Melbourne Storm                          

Kiwi #771                       

Debut 2012                     

Tests 8

 

Curtis Rona                       

Canterbury Bulldogs                     

New Kiwi

 

Sio Siua Taukeiaho         

Sydney Roosters                            

New Kiwi

 

Jason Taumalolo             

North Queensland Cowboys     

Kiwi #786                       

Debut 2014                     

Tests 4

 

Martin Taupau                

Wests Tigers                                    

Kiwi #785                       

Debut 2014                     

Tests 6

 

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck    

Sydney Roosters                            

Kiwi #779                       

Debut 2013                     

Tests 8

 

Dean Whare                     

Penrith Panthers                            

Kiwi #776                       

Debut 2012                     

Tests 12