Liverpool, England, November 2, 2018 – Seasoned campaigner Adam Blair has been included in a 19-man New Zealand Kiwis squad for Sunday’s second Test against England at Anfield in Liverpool (2.30pm kick-off local time; 1.30am Monday NZT).
The 32-year-old was a late withdrawal for last Saturday’s first Test in Hull but head coach Michael Maguire has today confirmed Blair has fully recovered from a minor knee injury to be in contention this week.
Easily the most experienced player in the touring party, Blair is in line to make his 47th Test appearance.
Maguire has named the same 19 players originally selected for the opening encounter of the series. He will confirm his final 17 an hour and a half before kick-off.
“Adam has got through training well this week to put himself back in the frame for what is a critical match for us,” said Maguire.
“The players are all aware of the areas we need to improve in and they’ve put in the work this week to address where we need to be better.
“It’s also going to be a special experience playing at such a great stadium like Anfield, one we’re really looking forward to.”
This will be only the second rugby league international played at the Liverpool Football Club’s home.
The first was the 2016 Four Nations final between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis. The only survivors from that match named today are wing Jordan Rapana, halfback Shaun Johnson, props Jesse Bromwich and Blair, second rower Kevin Proctor and interchange forwards Martin Taupau and Joseph Tapine.
There have been four other rugby league matches played at Anfield previously, the first of them between Widnes and Wigan in 1989 followed by the 1991 World Club Challenge when Wigan faced Penrith.
The Kiwis’ preparation so far this week has centred on field sessions at Liverpool FC’s base at Melwood and the Wigan Warriors’ training centre in Orrell. They’ll have their first look at Anfield tomorrow when they have their final field session there.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS v ENGLAND
2.30pm, Sunday, November 4, 2018
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS
DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Penrith Panthers) captain
LEESON AH MAU (St George Illawarra Dragons)
ADAM BLAIR (Vodafone Warriors)
JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
KENNY BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)
JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)
SHAUN JOHNSON (Vodafone Warriors)
ISAAC LIU (Sydney Roosters)
JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)
ESAN MARSTERS (Wests Tigers)
KEN MAUMALO (Vodafone Warriors)
KODI NIKORIMA (Brisbane Broncos)
KEVIN PROCTOR (Gold Coast Titans)
JORDAN RAPANA (Canberra Raiders)
BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)
JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
MARTIN TAUPAU (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES (Sydney Roosters)
HEAD COACH | MICHAEL MAGUIRE
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | END OF SEASON CAMPAIGN
(includes first Test v England, KCOM Stadium, Hull)
Saturday, October 13 | v Australia, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland | Won 26-24
Saturday, October 27 | v England, KCOM Stadium, Hull
Sunday, November 4 | v England, Anfield, Liverpool
Saturday, November 11 | v England, Elland Road, Leeds