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Melbourne Storm prop Robbie Kearns will captain his country for the first time when the Kangaroos take on a French selection side this weekend as part of Australia?s six-match tour of France, Wales and Great Britain.
Kearns, who was named vice-captain for the tour behind captain Darren Lockyer, will skipper the side following the decision to rest the Brisbane fullback after he suffered concussion in last week?s 14-point loss to New Zealand.
According to Kearns, Saturday?s match against the French, along with matches against England A and Wales, will serve as the ideal opportunity to iron out any kinks in the Kangaroos? game before the first Test against the British Lions.
?We realise after last week?s game that we?ve got a little bit of work to do,? Kearns explained.
?We most probably could have won the game against the Kiwis had we played better throughout the entire match because the opportunity was certainly there.
?We?ve got three games before we play the Lions and we just want to strike up a few combinations and I?m sure if we put in a good performance over the next two weeks prior to the Test matches, then we?ll take a lot of confidence into the first game.?
The Kangaroos, currently in Barcelona, will take a new-look side into Saturday?s match after Penrith premiership winning trio Luke Lewis, Trent Waterhouse and Joel Clinton were named in the line-up.
Panthers halfback Craig Gower has been promoted to the run-on side with Brett Kimmorley being relegated to the bench for the match that has been moved from its original venue in Perpignan to Carcassonne.
?I think (coach) Chris (Anderson) is giving everyone an opportunity to show what they are capable of doing and that?s evident in that all the guys that missed out last week are starting this week,? Kearns added.
?It?ll be good because all the young guys will be coming out fired up by the fact that this will be the first time they?ve worn an Australian jersey.
?I know it?s not a Test match but in saying that you?ve still got a green and gold jersey on and I?m sure they will all be trying to impress as there?s a lot of spots open for the first Test match.?
After initially being named vice-captain, Kearns is delighted to be captaining his country so early in the European tour.
?I realise I?ve got the vice-captaincy through a few withdrawals from the team but at the end of the day I am vice-captain and it will be there in black and white that I am captaining Australia this week,? the Storm Player of the Year said.
?There?s not too many people that have done that and it?s rewarding to pick up that sort of accolade at age 31.?
Australia plays England A next Tuesday, Wales on November 2 and the first of three Tests against Britain in Wigan on November 8.
For further information contact:
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]