8 Oct 2015

Blair and Luke named Kiwis co-captains

12:13 pm on 8 October 2015
Kiwis Adam Blair & Issac Luke

Kiwis Adam Blair & Issac Luke Photo: Photosport

Adam Blair and Issac Luke have been named as co-captains of the Kiwis squad for their upcoming tour to England.

The duo have been named by head coach Stephen Kearney to share the role that became vacant when incumbent Simon Mannering was ruled out of the New Zealand tour for medical reasons earlier this week.

Blair debuted at the 2006 Tri-Nations and scored the final try in the Kiwis' 2008 World Cup final victory over Australia. He returned to the national side last year after a three-year absence, and was a key contributor to Four Nations success and for his Brisbane Broncos club, en route to this year's NRL Grand Final.

Kiwis hooker Isaac Luke won't showing his support for suspended South Sydney teamate Kirisome Auva'a.

Isaac Luke will co-captain the Kiwis with Adam Blair. Photo: Photosport

"In big games, he has delivered for us before," says Kearney, who works daily with Blair as Brisbane Broncos assistant coach. "He's been in the programme for quite some time and knows what's expected - I see it as a natural choice."

Luke has played 33 Tests for New Zealand, two more than Blair, having made his debut in the 2008 Anzac Test and then coming off the bench for the World Cup triumph later that year.

He was a driving force in South Sydney's 2014 Premiership-winning campaign, although he missed the Grand Final through suspension, and then led the Rabbitohs to victory at this year's NRL Auckland Nines.

"Issac is very highly respected within the group and, again, has been part of the programme for a long time," said Kearney, who is still the youngest to hold the New Zealand captaincy.

"He's definitely one that's grown over the course of his Kiwis career, both as a footballer and a leader."

There are six newcomers in the touring squad, Warriors utility Tuimoala Lolohea, Broncos outside back Jordan Kahu, Roosters forward Isaac Liu, Bulldogs wing Curtis Rona, Broncos hooker/half Kodi Nikorima, and Roosters forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

Brisbane Broncos fullback Jordan Kahu is one of six debutants in the Kiwis.

Brisbane Broncos fullback Jordan Kahu is one of six debutants in the Kiwis. Photo: Photosport

The Kiwis are missing a number of first-choice players with Mannering joining Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Manu Vatuvei, Kieran Foran and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves who are all unavailable because of injury.

The Kiwis play a warm-up game against Leeds on 23 October before Tests in Hull, London and Wigan.

2015 Kiwis for England Tour

Gerard Beale (Sharks) | 25, 7 Tests

Adam Blair (Broncos) | 29, 31 Tests

Jesse Bromwich (Storm) | 26, 14 Tests

Lewis Brown (Panthers) | 29, 8 Tests

Alex Glenn (Broncos) | 27, 10 Tests

Tohu Harris (Storm) | 23, 7 Tests

Peta Hiku (Sea Eagles) | 22, 6 Tests

Jordan Kahu (Broncos) | 24, 0 Tests

Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Roosters) | 27, 14 Tests

Isaac Liu (Roosters) | 24, 0 Tests

Tuimoala Lolohea (Warriors) | 20, 0 Tests

Issac Luke (Rabbitohs) | 28, 33 Tests

Ben Matulino (Warriors) | 26, 20 Tests

Sam Moa (Roosters) | 29, 6 Tests

Jason Nightingale (Dragons) | 29, 25 Tests

Kodi Nikorima (Broncos) | 21, 0 Tests

Kevin Proctor (Storm) | 26, 8 Tests

Curtis Rona (Bulldogs) | 23, 0 Tests

Sio Siua Taukeiaho (Roosters) | 23, 0 Tests

Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys) | 22, 4 Tests

Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers) | 25, 6 Tests

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Roosters) | 22, 8 Tests

Dean Whare (Panthers) | 25, 12 Tests