AAP Rugby

Maguire gives Luke first bite at captaincy

By AAP Newswire

Coach Michael Maguire once gave Issac Luke his premiership ring - now he's handed the Warriors hooker the first shot at being New Zealand's next Test captain.

In his first game in charge of the Kiwis, ex-South Sydney boss Maguire has given all seven would-be debutants in his squad their first caps for Saturday's international-window Test against New Zealand at Mile High's Sports Authority Stadium.

There are nine changes from the side eliminated from the World Cup by Fiji last November.

in 2014 when South Sydney ended a 43-year premiership drought, Luke missed the decider through suspension. Maguire, who described the rake as being 'like a son', gave him the spoils of victory.

Luke replayed Maguire's gesture by travelling to Denver despite a chronic shoulder injury when Warriors teammates like Shaun Johnson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck cried off.

"Issac will run out (first) but I've said to the team that no-one's going to have the C next to their name - we're going to have everyone accountable for what's going on," said Maguire.

Maguire has also picked Esan Marsters, Jamayne Isaako, Ken Maumalo, Raymond Faitala-Mariner Slade Griffin, Leeson Au Mau and Herman Ese'ese for the first match in America between tier one nations in 64 years.

"But Issac's going to be the one who's going to talk to the ref and do the coin toss."

McGuire will appoint a captain for the tour of England and France at the end of the year, though. "Obviously I've got some good quality there that's still sitting back in New Zealand," he said

Asked about his relationship with Luke, Maguire said: "He was texting backwards and forwards when he heard I was possibly going to get the role.

"He said 'I'm in if you get it'. It's good. You have relationships with players throughout your time as a coach and we had a great time there together. We had some challenges, as well.

"Look, he's been outstanding in camp. He's really led these young men."

Adam Blair, Tuivasa-Sheck and Johnson will all come into consideration for captaincy duties when the Kiwis tour England and France at the end of the year, while Luke might be showing his respect for the coach now because his shoulder could prevent him taking part in October and November.

Maguire said players who performed at the home of the Denver Broncos would have an advantage over those who declined to take part.

"At the end of the day, it's the first game for these boys under my reign," he said. "So if they perform well, there's no reason why I can't keep moving forward (with them)."

Canterbury's Raymond Faitala-Mariner was initially named on the bench and Penrith's James Fisher-Harris in the starting side but the pair have since been swapped.