Marshall, Foran confirmed in NZ squad

Benji Marshall could make his first Kiwis appearance since 2012. Photo: Getty Images
Benji Marshall could make his first Kiwis appearance since 2012. Photo: Getty Images
Veteran halves Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran were last night confirmed for the 19-strong Kiwis squad for the inaugural Oceania Cup test against Tonga on Saturday night.

The pair were initially included in a 27-man group named on Thursday but have now moved a step closer to the prospect of a return to the test arena.

Marshall joined the New Zealand team's camp in Auckland last night seven years after last wearing the black and white jersey in the end-of-season test against the Kangaroos in Townsville in 2012.

Marshall was captain that night - the 27th test of his career - in a match the Kiwis lost 18-10.

Foran returns to a New Zealand squad for the first time since lining up in the 2017 Anzac Test in Canberra, his 21st international.

He will join the Kiwis today following his appearance for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs against the Roosters in Sydney yesterday.

He will travel with new Bulldogs team-mate and 2018 Kiwi captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak along with Roosters players Joseph Manu, Issac Liu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Tokoroa-born Zane Tetevano, one of three players in line to make their Kiwis test debuts on Saturday.

Tetevano (28) was originally selected for last year's end-of-season campaign against Australia and England before being ruled out with injury following the Roosters' grand final win.

He now has a chance to wear the Kiwis jersey for the first time after previously representing Cook Islands in five tests.

The other players in line to make their debut are Wellington-born Melbourne utility Jahrome Hughes (24) and Tauranga-born Cronulla second rower Briton Nikora (21), who made his NRL debut in the opening round this season.

Warriors halfback Kodi Nikorima and Canberra's Jordan Rapana and Joseph Tapine have been ruled out by their clubs while Warriors second rower Tohu Harris was also unavailable.

In all, 14 of the 19 players were involved in last year's campaigns and Tetevano was an original selection.

As well as Marshall and Foran, Warriors captain and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who has scored 13 tries in 16 tests, makes his return to the Kiwis after last appearing in the 2017 World Cup.

The Kiwis-Tonga test is the second leg of a double-header which kicks off with the Kiwi Ferns facing Samoa at 3.10pm.

Kiwis wider squad 

Leeson Ah Mau, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich, James Fisher-Harris, Kieran Foran, Jahrome Hughes, Shaun Johnson, Issac Liu, Joseph Manu, Benji Marshall, Esan Marsters, Ken Maumalo, Briton Nikora, Brandon Smith, Zane Tetevano , Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.


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