4 May 2017

Foran and Packer back for Kiwis

8:04 am on 4 May 2017

Born-again prop Russell Packer has bolted into the Kiwis starting line-up to face Australia in tomorrow night's Anzac rugby league Test in Canberra.

Former Kiwi and Warriors prop Russell Packer, despite being in prison for assault, is on new Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett's player wish list.

Former Warriors prop Russell Packer has been named in the Kiwis squad. Photo: Photosport

A surprise inclusion in the squad ahead of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Packer has beaten out experienced hardmen Adam Blair and Martin Taupau for a starting berth.

The 27-year-old had wondered if his career was over after spending a year in prison for assault in 2014.

Packer admitted to being first shocked, and then emotional, when he received the call last week from Kidwell to inform him of his selection.

He labelled his selection as a reward for the family and friends that have stuck by him.

Kiwis Coach David Kidwell naming his side this morning, the much talked about all Warriors spine of hooker Isaac Luke, halfback Shaun Johnson, Foran and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck confirmed to run out alongside a forward-pack lead by captain Jesse Bromwich, Packer, Kevin Proctor, Simon Mannering and Jason Taumalolo.

Wing Jordan Rapana who will combine with centre Dean Whare said his Kiwis partner is a similar player to his club team-mate Joey Leilua.

"To be honest i think Dean is a very similar player to Joey so hopefully we can jell out here on the field and deliver a similar style of performance."

Rapana said he is focusing on his role on the wing rather than scoring tries.

"For myself i just want to play solid football, i want to carry strong for the boys, if i'm lucky enough to

a few tries that's a bonus but i just want to make sure i'm limited in my errors and playing well."

Veteran Adam Blair will start on the bench alongside Martin Taupau, Kenny Bromwich and Kodi Nikorima.

Elijah Taylor has been named 18th man.