Great Britain boss Wayne Bennett makes three changes to face the Kiwis

BOSS WAYNE Bennett has made three changes to Great Britain’s likely starting side for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand in Auckland.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 12:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 12:43 pm
GB coach, Wayne Bennett. PIC: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz /SWpix.com
GB coach, Wayne Bennett. PIC: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz /SWpix.com

Two of the changes are enforced with centre Oliver Gildart (shoulder) and prop Luke Thompson (rib) both ruled out owing to injuries suffered in last Saturday’s 14-6 defeat by a Tonga Invitational XIII.

Hull’s Jake Connor has been drafted in to replace Gildart and Dewsbury-born South Sydney prop Tom Burgess will step up from the bench in place of Thompson.

Jonny Lomax, a substitute against Tonga, takes over at full-back from St Helens club-mate Lachlan Coote.

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Jake Connor. PIC: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Daryl Clark, who began his career at Castleford Tigers, has been called up among the likely substitutes, along with fellow Warrington forward Joe Philbin.

Castleford stand-off Jake Trueman and Warrington pivot Blake Austin are also included in an initial 21-man squad, though neither is expected to feature this weekend.

The squad will be reduced to 19 on Friday, with Bennett set to name his confirmed side an hour before kick-off at Eden Park.

The Kiwis’ star playmaker, Shaun Johnson, has paid the price for a poor performance in last Sunday’s 26-4 loss to Australia.

Dewsbury-born, Tom Burgess. PIC: Brett Phibbs / www.photosport.nz /SWpix.com

His place in the halves will be taken by Kieran Foran and prop Braden Hamlin-Uele, a substitute against the Kangaroos, is also omitted.

Joseph Tapine, who was suspended last week, will start at loose-forward so Adam Blair will begin his 50th Test among the substitutes.

The Kiwis’ other change sees Zane Tetevano step up from the bench into the front-row, swapping places with Leeson Ah Mau.

Great Britain’s 21-man squad is: Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors), Jake Connor (Hull), Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters), Gareth Widdop (Warrington Wolves), Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils), Chris Hill (Warrington), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), John Bateman (Canberra), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra), James Graham (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Josh Jones (Hull), Joe Philbin (Warrington), Daryl Clark (Warrington), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Jack Hughes (Warrington), George Williams (Canberra), Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers), Blake Austin (Warrington).

New Zealand expected 17-man squad is: Tuivasa-Sheck, Maumalo, Nicoll-Klokstad, Manu, Isaako, Foran, Marshall, Tetevano, Smith, Waerea-Hargreaves, Nikora, Bromwich, Tapine, Hughes, Harawira-Naera, Ah Mau, Blair.