Johns to join “All-Golds” tour

The 32-year-old legendary scrum-half retired from representative football in 2005, having won the Golden Boot twice in his career and having come to be regarded as one of the best ever rugby league players.

Johns won 21 caps for the Kangaroos and was the star of numerous international series, including the 1995 and 2000 Rugby League World Cups, in addition to an illustrious State of Origin career with New South Wales

The New Zealand Rugby League will also be asking former internationals Ruben Wiki and Nigel Vagana to put their retirement on hold and join the tour, as a way of marking the end of their international careers.

Wiki – the most capped player in rugby league history – and Vagana announced their retirement after November’s Gillette Tri-Nations series, in which the Kiwis lost out to the Kangaroos after extra-time in the final.

"Having the status of players like that playing in a game to mark our centenary and the birth of international rugby league – and to mark the end of their representative careers – is a pretty good formula for us," said NZRL general manager Peter Cordtz.

Messenger was a guest player as New Zealand – known as the All-Golds – took on what was then known as the Northern Union in what was the first ever Anglo-New Zealand international one hundred years ago.

The All-Golds tag was given to the tour by the rugby union authorities in New Zealand as a jibe over allegations of greed – rugby union was still (officially at least) an amateur sport, and converts to the “professional game” were looked down upon.

New Zealand are expected to play a three-match series against Great Britain, as well as several other tour matches.

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