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KENNY-DOWALL AND SMITH BACK ON TEST SCENE AFTER LONG BREAKS
Auckland, New Zealand, October 13, 2010 - Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Jeremy Smith both return to Test football after long absences when the Kiwis face Toa Samoa in the first-ever international between the two sides at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
Kenny-Dowall will start in the centres after playing his one and only Test against France in Paris in 2007 while Smith is in the Kiwi line-up for the first time since New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup triumph against the Kangaroos in November 2008.
Also set to return after last playing in the 2009 Anzac Test in Brisbane are Vodafone Warriors team-mates Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei. Mannering has been named on the bench after spending the last two days in bed with a virus. Vatuvei, who scored 20 tries in 19 NRL appearances this year, is back on the left wing while St George Illawarra's NRL premiership winner Jason Nightingale is on the right wing.
In other changes from the Kiwi line-up beaten 12-8 in the Anzac Test in May, Kenny-Dowall is in the centres for the suspended Steve Matai and Thomas Leuluai replaces the injured Kieran Foran at halfback. Leuluai was named man of the match after Wigan's Super League grand final win over St Helens at Old Trafford on October 2.
Greg Eastwood (Leeds) will start at prop along with Adam Blair, who was used in the back row in the Anzac Test. Incumbent second rower Bronson Harrison is rejoined by Penrith's Frank Pritchard, who missed the May clash against Australia and Smith starts at loose forward.
In naming a 19-man squad, Kearney has left out wingers Sam Perrett and Antonio Winterstein while he confirmed today that new Kiwis Lewis Brown and Sam McKendry would play for New Zealand Maori in Saturday night's curtain-raiser against England.