23 Apr 2014

No room for Benji or SBW in Kiwis to face Kangaroos

6:50 pm on 23 April 2014

The Kiwis rugby league coach Stephen Kearney says the national selectors haven't considered Benji Marshall, or Sonny Bill Williams, for next Friday's ANZAC Test against Australia, in Sydney.

Kearney says they're looking to the future and the next World Cup - so Williams, who's heading back to rugby next season, has played his last Test for the Kiwis.

Marshall's not playing the 13-man game again yet, and halfback's well served anyway by Shaun Johnson, but the other playmaking position - of standoff - is a problem.

The incumbent Kieran Foran and backup Thomas Leuluai are injured, and the Kiwis have just one New Zealand-eligible five-eighth playing in the NRL currently - though he's a converted fullback.

Brisbane's Josh Hoffman's been playing at No.6 all season, after time there as a junior - and Kearney - who's an assistant with the Broncos - says Hoffman has the inside running on the jersey.

He says Hoffman will play his eighth NRL game in the position this weekend, and with the spirited way the 26-year-old plays, he wouldn't let the side down at five-eighth.

Hooker is looming as another problematic position with incumbent Issac Luke also injured. Kearney's thinking of promoting a Junior Kiwis hooker, though utility Lewis Brown has played there in the NRL.