Here’s a strange, and totally unnecessary, little article to ponder as you plan the day ahead. A team of Australian Test players where the…
Three big-name New Zealand forwards have retired from international rugby league, leaving gaping holes to fill for this month’s Test against England.
Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer have all pulled the pin, confiding first in new Kiwi coach Michael Maguire, who will name his squad for next week’s Denver Test on Sunday.
Former skipper Mannering announced the end of one of the great international careers, having reached 45 Tests. The 31-year-old Warriors stalwart is the fourth-most capped Kiwi behind Ruben Wiki (55), Gary Freeman (46) and Stacey Jones (46).
Wests Tigers props Matulino and Packer – both former Warriors – have clocked up 23 and seven Test caps respectively.
Mannering and Packer were part of New Zealand’s failed 2017 World Cup campaign, a tournament missed by the injured Matulino.
There is no suggestion any of the trio had pressure placed on them by their clubs, with the distance and timing of the Test considered highly disruptive by many NRL coaches and officials.