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Kiwi trio to use All Stars game as Cup trial

Date

Angela Habashy

So close ... the Storm's Sisa Waqa tries to score during a trial match against feeder club Brisbane Easts.

So close ... the Storm's Sisa Waqa tries to score during a trial match against feeder club Brisbane Easts. Photo: Getty Images

NEXT week's All Stars match doubles as a timely preview for New Zealand's World Cup campaign, when exciting halves Kieran Foran and Shaun Johnson play together for the first time.

The duo, making their All Stars debuts, have never played with each other for New Zealand.

But they will get to team up in Saturday's Suncorp Stadium clash against the Indigenous All Stars, after Manly five-eighth Foran was called into the NRL side on Sunday to replace his Sea Eagles teammate Anthony Watmough.

Watmough was forced to withdraw on Sunday because Manly medical staff were not confident he had fully recovered from knee surgery in December. Warriors playmaker Johnson received the call-up from coach Wayne Bennett on Thursday to replace injured Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk.

With the World Cup to be played in England and Wales in October, Foran will get to test himself against Australian five-eighth Johnathan Thurston, who will captain the Indigenous All Stars. Getting to also play with New Zealand captain Benji Marshall on Saturday, Foran feels the Kiwi trio can kick-start their country's World Cup preparation this week.

''It's amazing that Shaun and I have never played together before and I can't wait to get to play with him, he's a pretty exciting player,'' Foran said. ''This really will be a stepping stone for that big picture at the end of the year - the World Cup goal. It's going to really help us that the three of us are here together now.''

■ Newcastle's opening trial proved a mismatch when Rick Stone's makeshift NSW Cup squad were hammered 46-10 by Parramatta in Armidale on Saturday.

The Knights had only one player with NRL experience while the Eels, under new coach Ricky Stuart, unleashed a host of first-grade players, headed by former international Rene Maitua. Stone felt his troops did not give a bad account of themselves.

''I think Parra might have played 20 of their top 30 players and we probably played one, so there was plenty of difference in the quality of the sides,'' Stone said.

AAP with ROBERT DILLON

Four Nations 2014

Round 1
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
ENG 32 vs SAM 26 Stats
AUS 12 vs NEWZ 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 14 vs SAM 12 Report Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 16 vs ENG 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 16 vs ENG 14 Report Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
AUS 44 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Final
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEWZ 22 vs AUS 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Four Nations 2014
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 22 6
Australia 3 2 1 0 12 4
England 3 1 2 0 0 2
Samoa 3 0 3 0 -34 0
View all
 
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