New Zealand Rugby League high performance manager Tony Kemp has labelled the Kangaroos selection of James Tamou a joke.

The Cowboys prop has been named in Australia's 17 for Friday night's trans-Tasman test at Eden Park, despite being a former Junior Kiwis and New Zealand Maori rep.

Kemp says international league's eligibility rules need to be cleared up.

He says Tamou has been in the New Zealand pathways since 2007, yet gets to face the Kiwis in an Australian jersey which isn't right.


Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens is keen to avoid getting into a war of words with the Kiwis over the selection of Cowboys prop James Tamou.

Sheens has refused to return fire, saying it's just as much of an honour to be selected to play for Australia, as it is for New Zealand.

"I don't think we need to get into a slagging match about it," he says.

There are four debutants in the Kiwis 19-man squad, including Australian-born fullback Josh Hoffman.