Vodafone Warriors utility Tuimoala Lolohea is among the new faces while Vodafone Warriors-bound Issac Luke and Adam Blair will be co-captains replacing unavailable Simon Mannering in the 23-man Kiwi team named for the coming four-match England tour.
After making three NRL appearances last year, the 20-year-old Lolohea missed only one game this year - and played in every backline position - culminating in him being named the Vodafone NRL Rookie of the Year at the club’s annual awards last month.
He is one of seven newcomers named in the touring squad, the others being Broncos outside back Jordan Kahu, Roosters back rower Isaac Liu, Brisbane halfback-hooker Kodi Nikorima, Bulldogs wing Curtis Rona and Roosters back rower Sio Siua Taukeiaho plus Wests Tigers hooker Manaia Cherrington who was brought in as a replacement for the originally-selected Jason Taumalolo (knee injury).
The Kiwis are missing four first-choice Vodafone Warriors for the tour with Mannering joining Shaun Johnson (ankle), Thomas Leuluai (knee) and Manu Vatuvei (shoulder), who have all had major surgery. As well as Taumalolo, Kieran Foran (arm) and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (knee) are also unavailable.
Despite being without those seven players, coach Stephen Kearney has still been able to call on a wide group of experienced players including Vodafone Warriors prop Ben Matulino, who played his 20th international in this year’s Anzac Test win over the Kangaroos.
Eight players have appeared in 10 or more Tests for New Zealand with Blair, Luke, Matulino and Jason Nightingale all boasting 20 or more internationals.
On the NRL experience count, 10 players have made 100-plus appearances, Blair (215) with the most followed by Jason Nightingale (197), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (196), Ben Matulino (173), Alex Glenn (168), Kevin Proctor (155) and Lewis Brown (150) in the 150-plus category.
The Kiwis’ tour starts against Leeds on October 23 followed by Tests in Hull (November 1), London’s Olympic Stadium (November 7) and Wigan (November 14).
2015 KIWIS | ENGLAND TOUR
(Tests stats are for New Zealand only)
Gerard Beale (Sharks) | 25, 7 Tests, 118 NRL games
Adam Blair (Broncos) | 29, 31 Tests, 215 NRL games
Jesse Bromwich (Storm) | 26, 14 Tests, 132 NRL games
Lewis Brown (Panthers) | 29, 8 Tests, 150 NRL games
Manaia Cherrington (Wests Tigers) | 21, 0 Tests, 11 NRL games
Alex Glenn (Broncos) | 27, 10 Tests, 168 NRL games
Tohu Harris (Storm) | 23, 7 Tests, 76 NRL games
Peta Hiku (Sea Eagles) | 22, 6 Tests, 60 NRL games
Jordan Kahu (Broncos) | 24, 0 Tests, 35 NRL games
Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters) | 27, 14 Tests, 196 NRL games
Isaac Liu (Roosters) | 24, 0 Tests, 64 NRL games
Tuimoala Lolohea (Vodafone Warriors) | 20, 0 Tests, 26 NRL games
Issac Luke (Rabbitohs) | 28, 33 Tests, 188 NRL games
Ben Matulino (Vodafone Warriors) | 26, 20 Tests, 173 NRL games
Sam Moa (Roosters) | 29, 6 Tests, 73 NRL games
Jason Nightingale (Dragons) | 29, 25 Tests, 197 NRL games
Kodi Nikorima (Broncos) | 21, 0 Tests, 20 NRL games
Kevin Proctor (Storm) | 26, 8 Tests, 155 NRL games
Curtis Rona (Bulldogs) | 23, 0 Tests, 32 NRL games
Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Roosters) | 23, 0 Tests, 28 NRL games
Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers) | 25, 6 Tests, 66 NRL games
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters) | 22, 8 Tests, 84 NRL games
Dean Whare (Panthers) | 25, 12 Tests, 88 NRL games