Issac Luke will make his final international appearance as a Rabbitohs this weekend when he captains the New Zealand Kiwis in an exhibition match against the Leeds Rhinos.
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney has named 20 players and both sides will run extended 19-man rotations for the game, which will double as a hit-out for the Kiwis ahead of their three-test series against England and a celebration for the Leeds Rhinos, after their tremendously successful domestic campaign.
“This will be an opportunity for (our) two halves to build combinations with the group around them,” says Kearney.
“We also have guys that haven’t played since the last round of the NRL, so this is a chance for them to blow out some cobwebs.”
The Leeds Rhinos have taken out the League Leaders Shield, Challenge Cup and Super League Trophy this season, and will present a tough proposition for the visitors, even with three of their stars on duty with the England squad.
This game will also mark the final appearances of stalwarts Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield and Kylie Leuluai for Leeds, who have also brought former Rhinos Ali Lauitiiti and Adrian Morley back to the club for the occasion.
“This will be perfect preparation for us,” says Kearney. “Leeds will be honouring some pretty special players and they’re expecting a full house.
“We’re very aware of the history of this match, with the 1907 All Golds playing Leeds in their build-up to a test series, so for me, this is an historic occasion in that sense too.”
Local officials are predicting a sell-out at Headingley Carnegie.
The NZ Kiwis line-up for their game against Leeds Rhinos, scheduled for 8pm Friday UK time is:
1) Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters)
2) Jason Nightigale (Dragons)
3) Jordan Kahu (Broncos)
4) Dean Whare (Panthers)
5) Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters)
6) Peta Hiku (Sea Eagles)
7) Tuimoala Lolohea (Warriors)
8) Jesse Bromwich (Storm)
9) Issac Luke (Rabbitohs)
10) Ben Matulino (Warriors)
11) Kevin Proctor (Storm)
12) Tohu Harris (Storm)
13) Martin Taupau (Tigers)
14) Kodi Nikorima (Broncos)
15) Adam Blair (Broncos)
16) Sam Moa (Roosters)
17) Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Roosters)
18) Alex Glenn (Broncos)
19) Gerard Beale (Sharks)
20) Lewis Brown (Panthers)