Melbourne Storm prop Robbie Kearns will captain his country for the first time when the Kangaroos take on a French selection side this weekend as part of Australia�s six-match tour of France, Wales and Great Britain.
Kearns, who was named vice-captain for the tour behind captain Darren Lockyer, will skipper the side following the decision to rest the Brisbane fullback after he suffered concussion in last week�s 14-point loss to New Zealand.
According to Kearns, Saturday�s match against the French, along with matches against England A and Wales, will serve as the ideal opportunity to iron out any kinks in the Kangaroos� game before the first Test against the British Lions.
�We realise after last week�s game that we�ve got a little bit of work to do,� Kearns explained.
�We most probably could have won the game against the Kiwis had we played better throughout the entire match because the opportunity was certainly there.
�We�ve got three games before we play the Lions and we just want to strike up a few combinations and I�m sure if we put in a good performance over the next two weeks prior to the Test matches, then we�ll take a lot of confidence into the first game.�
The Kangaroos, currently in Barcelona, will take a new-look side into Saturday�s match after Penrith premiership winning trio Luke Lewis, Trent Waterhouse and Joel Clinton were named in the line-up.
Panthers halfback Craig Gower has been promoted to the run-on side with Brett Kimmorley being relegated to the bench for the match that has been moved from its original venue in Perpignan to Carcassonne.
�I think (coach) Chris (Anderson) is giving everyone an opportunity to show what they are capable of doing and that�s evident in that all the guys that missed out last week are starting this week,� Kearns added.
�It�ll be good because all the young guys will be coming out fired up by the fact that this will be the first time they�ve worn an Australian jersey.
�I know it�s not a Test match but in saying that you�ve still got a green and gold jersey on and I�m sure they will all be trying to impress as there�s a lot of spots open for the first Test match.�
After initially being named vice-captain, Kearns is delighted to be captaining his country so early in the European tour.
�I realise I�ve got the vice-captaincy through a few withdrawals from the team but at the end of the day I am vice-captain and it will be there in black and white that I am captaining Australia this week,� the Storm Player of the Year said.
�There�s not too many people that have done that and it�s rewarding to pick up that sort of accolade at age 31.�
Australia plays England A next Tuesday, Wales on November 2 and the first of three Tests against Britain in Wigan on November 8.
For further information contact:
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]