Rugby League: Kiwis captain Benji Marshall excited to reunite with Kieran Foran against Lions

Kiwis captain Benji Marshall is excited to reunite with Kieran Foran in the halves when New Zealand face the Great Britain Lions in Auckland on Saturday. 

Marshall played on Foran's debut in 2009, and the pair will play their ninth test together when they run out onto the field in the first of two tests against the Lions. 

The pair last played together in a 18-10 defeat against the Kangaroos back in 2012. 

Foran was recalled into the starting side at the expense of Shaun Johnson, who was dropped following a disappointing performance against the Kangaroos last week.  

The 29-year-old hasn't played for New Zealand since 2017, and Marshall knows how it feels to wait years between tests, having experienced the same thing himself. 

"I played in Kieran's debut for the Kiwis, and we went on to play a few tests together," explained Marshall. 

"He's in a good space, physically and mentally. We've achieved lots by building our combinations during the week, and I can't wait to play with him again.

Rugby League: Kiwis captain Benji Marshall excited to reunite with Kieran Foran against Lions

"He's determined on every play, he does all the little things, and we complement how each other." 

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire said it was rewarding telling Foran he'd earned the right to play test football again. 

"It's a great thing about being a coach, being able to tell someone they're coming to play a test match, especially somebody like Kieran who has been away for a long time," Maguire explained. 

"Kieran has had his challenges, but he deserves credit for the way he's bounced back. He's worked hard, he's got his body in shape, and I admire the way he plays football."

Maguire added that he expects Shaun Johnson to bounce back from his demotion. 

"Shaun's been excellent. He's been a strong leader, he's been set standards like every other player, and I have no doubt he'll bounce back at some stage."

The Kiwis last played the Lions in 2007. 

Join Newshub for live updates of the Kiwis and Great Britain from 5pm Saturday.