Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captain: Maoris Will Be a Good Test; RUGBY LEAGUE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captain: Maoris Will Be a Good Test; RUGBY LEAGUE

Article excerpt

ENGLAND captain Adrian Morley is expecting a fierce battle from the Maoris in Saturday's clash at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium and predicts it will be just the preparation the tourists need for their Four Nations campaign.

In each of the two previous years, England warmed up for their autumn internationals by recording crushing wins over Wales, and Morley believes a strong New Zealand Maori side will provide more fitting opposition.

Forwards Lewis Brown and Sam McKendry have been released by the Kiwis to join Richie Blackmore's side, which will be captained by former Leeds centre Clinton Toopi and includes dual Australian international Timana Tahu and the Super League trio of Castleford's Rangi Chase, Weller Hauraki of Crusaders and Salford's Jeremy Smith.

"There are three players from Super League and the rest of the boys are from the NRL," said Morley. "It is up there and close to an international side. I think it is stronger than Wales and France so it is going to be a tough one.

"This match is vital for our Four Nations preparations. We feel that in tournaments gone by we have been a little underdone, especially in the first game, so this match is going to be very physical and just what we need.

"There is no point coming here and being under-prepared. We want to go in with the best preparation possible and we feel that playing a team like the Maori is going to give us that. …

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