A new Kiwis skipper will be named tomorrow after Benji
Marshall was stripped of the captaincy.
The decision to take the leadership off Marshall was made to
give the playmaker every shot of being at his best at the
Rugby League World Cup later this year.
Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney spoke with Marshall this week and
said it was a "very tough conversation".
"Benji is an immensely proud New Zealander and his desire was
to continue in the captaincy role. Although this decision has
been a difficult one, it has been made in the best interests
of the team, and Benji will remain an integral part of the
Kiwis going forward," he said.
Marshall has been captain of the Kiwis since Nathan Cayless
retired from internationals in 2009. Ther Tigers playmaker
led the side to the Four Nations title in 2010 with a victory
over Australia in the final.
Since then the Kiwis have won just one of their last six
matches including four straight defeats to Australia.
"Because of who he is, he carries a massive workload for
rugby league in general," said Tony Kemp, the NZRL's General
Manager of High Performance.
"Our respect for him is immense and we appreciate that he's
hurting now, but we believe this decision will ultimately
lift some weight from Benji and give the Kiwis every
opportunity to defend the Rugby League World Cup."
A new captain will be named at a press conference at 9am
tomorrow. Their first match in charge will be the Anzac test
against Australia in Canberra on April 19.