League: Six rookies among Anzac Kiwis

Six months after he was sensationally axed from Kiwis' World Cup squad, Tohu Harris will return to international duty for Friday's Anzac test in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images.
Six months after he was sensationally axed from Kiwis' World Cup squad, Tohu Harris will return to international duty for Friday's Anzac test in Sydney. Photo / Getty Images.

Six months after he was sensationally axed from Kiwis' World Cup squad, Tohu Harris will return to international duty for Friday's Anzac test in Sydney.

Harris, 22, was the controversial omission from New Zealand's failed World Cup campaign, left out at the last minute after Sonny Bill Williams belatedly made himself available.

With Williams returning to rugby next year and not considered for selection, Harris will have the opportunity to add to his solitary cap after coach Stephen Kearney was clearly impressed by the Melbourne Storm back rower's form in 2014.

Harris is far from the only new face to tackle Australia at Allianz Stadium, with Kearney naming six newcomers in the 18-man squad. Fullback Peta Hiku, five-eighths Isaac John, utility Ben Henry, hooker Siliva Havili and props Martin Taupau and Kenny Bromwich will join the national team for the first time.

Bromwich has been included alongside older brother Jesse, making the pair the first set of siblings to suit up together for the Kiwis since Henry and Robbie Paul in 2001.

The callow look to the squad means there is room for only six survivors from the side that lost to the Kangaroos in last year's World Cup final - captain Simon Mannering, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Shaun Johnson, Sam Moa and Jesse Bromwich.

"We're still very excited by the talent we have available," Kearney said. "Many of these guys have progressed through Junior Kiwis and into full professional and now international careers.

"There are also some old faces returning and we think this mix will bring a really positive energy to the group. This team is an Anzac story in itself - a band of young men thrown together to do whatever it takes to perform for 80 minutes on Friday night."

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The Australian Test selectors have resisted the temptation to make major changes to the side that lifted the Rugby League World Cup last year.

Fullback Billy Slater and halfback Cooper Cronk keep their spots in the starting side despite indifferent form and outstanding recent performances from Greg Inglis and Daly Cherry-Evans.

South Sydney fullback Inglis is selected in the centres with Manly's Cherry-Evans, who produced a dazzling display against Canberra on Sunday afternoon, named on the bench.

Coach Tim Sheens has named Sam Thaiday despite the Brisbane back-rower missing the last two games for his club due to a calf injury.

Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne is ruled out with a shoulder injury and Canterbury's Josh Morris is selected at centre despite the return to fitness of long-time incumbent Justin Hodges.

Kiwis squad for the Anzac Test:
Gerard Beale (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Adam Blair (Wests Tigers), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Kenneath Bronwich (Melbourne Storm), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), Siliva Havili (NZ Warriors), Ben Henry (NZ Warriors), Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), Isaac John (Penrith Panthers), Shaun Johnson (NZ Warriors), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers).

Australian squad:
Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Josh Morris, Brett Morris, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, James Tamou, Cameron Smith, Matt Scott, Sam Thaiday, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Daly Cherry-Evans, Nate Myles, Boyd Cordner, Corey Parker. 18th man: Matt Gillett.

- With AAP

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