Former Kiwis vice-captain Adam Blair has been handed an international lifeline after he was recalled to the New Zealand squad for next Saturday's test against the Kangaroos in Townsville.

Blair was called up as a late replacement for Jeremy Smith, who injured his shoulder in Cronulla's last game of the NRL season.

Smith had a thorough medical recently with his new club Newcastle and an MRI scan this week revealed the severity of the injury.

Blair has played 25 tests and is the third most-capped player in the Kiwis squad, behind Simon Mannering and Benji Marshall, but the prop has had an inconsistent season with the Wests Tigers.


He was initially one of a number of well-known casualties in the 19-man squad, along with Manu Vatuvei, Steve Matai, Sika Manu, Jason Taumalolo and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

The Kiwis will assemble in Cairns for their first training run on Monday before transferring to Townsville later in the week.

New Zealand squad: Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers - c), Gerard Beale (Brisbane), Adam Blair (Wests Tigers), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne), Greg Eastwood (Bulldogs), Kieran Foran (Manly), Josh Hoffman (Brisbane), Krisnan Inu (Bulldogs), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Sam Kasiano (Bulldogs), Issac Luke (South Sydney), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Sam McKendry (Penrith), Sam Perrett (Bulldogs), Frank Pritchard (Bulldogs), Kevin Proctor (Melbourne), Elijah Taylor (Warriors), Dean Whare (Manly).