Shaun Kenny-Dowall has called for Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ Test exile to come to an end, telling Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney his Sydney Roosters teammate should be the first player picked.
Roosters prop Waerea-Hargreaves is battling to regain his place in the New Zealand side for the end-of-season Four Nations tour of England after a three year absence.
A high profile casualty of the Kiwi’s thumping 34-2 loss to Australia in the 2013 World Cup final, he hasn’t been sighted in the black and white jumper since, because management believe he hasn’t been able to reproduce his club form at Test level.
While he’s often been overlooked for the likes of Kenny Bromwich, Greg Eastwood and club teammate Sam Moa, Kenny-Dowall called for Waerea-Hargreaves to be recalled to the squad.
“He’d be the first person I pick,” Roosters and Kiwi centre Kenny-Dowall said.
“He’s one of the great leaders of our club and he’s a proud New Zealander and I know if he got chosen in that team that he wouldn’t let them down.”
Waerea-Hargreaves spent the first several months of the NRL season on the sidelines recovering from a knee reconstruction.
His return coincided with the side’s first win of the season, against Newcastle in round nine, and he has averaged 113 metres this year.
He was one of his side’s best, making 164 metres from 18 carries and laying 25 tackles in Sunday’s 42-6 flogging of St George Illawarra.
Asked if he was surprised by Waerea-Hargreaves’ recent omissions from the Kiwi line-up, Kenny-Dowall said: “Yeah. There’s been a few circumstances.
“But I’m sure if he got the opportunity he wouldn’t disappoint.”