Rugby League: Kiwis drop Freeman

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The Independent Online
New Zealand have dropped tour captain Gary Freeman for the final test against Great Britain at Headingley on Saturday. Freeman's replacement is Aaron Whittaker, a 25-year-old whose previous experience of Britain was confined to a season with Chorley Borough. 'After losing both the first two Tests by 17 points, it is time to change the pattern of play,' Richard Bolton, the New Zealand manager, said.

The new Kiwi captain is Stephen Kearney, the 21-year-old second row, who is regarded by his coach, Howie Tamati, as 'potentially a great leader'. After 26 consecutive internationals Duane Mann is dropped, replaced at hooker by Denvour Johnston, and winger Sean Hoppe loses his place to Jason Williams.

NEW ZEALAND: D Watson; F Botica, K Iro, I Ropati, J Williams; T Kemp, A Whittaker; S Solomona, D Johnston, B Stuart, S Kearney (capt), Q Pongia, J Mackie. Substitutes: R Blackmore, J Lomax, W Taewa, G Mercer.

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