Zak Hardaker injury blow for Great Britain; Blake Austin drafted in on wing

Zak Hardaker has been ruled out of Great Britain’s second test against New Zealand, leaving coach Wayne Bennett with yet another selection headache.

Hardaker, 27, had been named as a makeshift winger following the injury to Ryan Hall, which left Jermaine McGillvary as the only recognised winger in the squad.

Leeds’ Ash Handley has been called up to the squad, but isn’t due to arrive until after the weekend, and will only be in contention for next week’s test against Papua New Guinea.

That means that Warrington’s Blake Austin will stand-in on the wing for what will be his Lions debut.

Austin’s Warrington team-mate Joe Philbin has also been ruled out through injury, with his place being taken by St Helens’ Luke Thompson, who has recovered from a rib injury sustained in the tour opener against Tonga.

Great Britain team v New Zealand: J Lomax (St Helens); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), J Hughes (Warrington), J Connor (Hull FC), B Austin (Warrington); G Widdop (St George Illawarra), J Hastings (Salford); C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), T Burgess (South Sydney), J Bateman (Canberra), E Whitehead (Canberra), J Graham (St George Illawarra, capt). Replacements (from): J Jones (Salford), D Clark (Warrington), A Walmsley (St Helens), L Thompson (St Helens), G Williams (Wigan), L Coote (St Helens).

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