Arvo Wrap

New Zealand centre Steve Matai has been cleared to play in Sunday week's rugby league Test against Australia, but will miss the ensuing tour of Europe.

The Manly three-quarter battled injury throughout the 2007 season and will go under the knife immediately after the Wellington Test. Matai will have surgery to repair a cartilage tear and cyst on his right shoulder, while he will also undergo treatment for an ongoing neck problem.

The surgery is expected to sideline Matai for between three and six months, the Sea Eagles hoping to have it completed as soon possible to have the fiery centre available for the start of the 2008 season.

Meanwhile, teenage sensation Israel Folau says he's thrilled to have received a call up to the Australian Test team to face New Zealand.

The Melbourne Storm's premiership-winning winger was added to the Kangaroos side for Sunday week's match in Wellington after centre Justin Hodges was ruled out today because of injury. Folau, who at 18 will become the youngest player to run out for Australia in a Test match, says his goal at the start of the season was simply to play one first grade match.

He says the chance to represent his country is a dream come true.


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