North Queensland star Jason Taumalolo was been ruled out of New Zealand’s tour of England with the injury-hit Kiwis turning to a seventh uncapped player.
Wests Tigers back-up hooker Manaia Cherrington replaces the Cowboys battering ram, who has withdrawn with a knee complaint, two days after the 23-man squad was announced.
The 22-year-old was a key part of the Cowboys’ side which claimed their maiden NRL premiership last weekend with a grand final win over Brisbane.
“Jason has had a wonderful year, but holding him out of this tour will probably benefit him and us long term,” Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney said.
“We’re confident we can cover his position from within the current squad and Manaia’s addition will allow Lewis Brown to play more in his preferred second-row role.”
Injury has robbed the Kiwis of a hostn of key player for the three-Test tour in November, including regular skipper Simon Mannering, Shaun Johnson, Kieran Foran, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
Whangarei-born Cherrington, 21, was captain of the Junior Kiwis side which beat their Australian counterparts last year.
He made the first of his 11 first grade appearances for the Tigers in June and has been tipped as a long-term replacement for their veteran hooker Robbie Farah.
“We have many talented players coming through our programmes and into the NRL these days,” Kearney said.
“Manaia is just one of those and I think he will be key contributor to Kiwis teams for many years to come.”
KIWIS SQUAD: Gerard Beale, Adam Blair (co-capt), Jesse Bromwich, Lewis Brown, Manaia Cherrington, Alex Glenn, Tohu Harris, Peta Hiku, Jordan Kahu, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tuimoala Lolohea, Isaac Liu, Issac Luke (co-capt), Ben Matulino, Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Kodi Nikorima, Kevin Proctor, Curtis Rona, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Martin Taupau, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare.