Westpac NSW Blues skipper and Australian captain James Tedesco has the utmost faith in his True Blue teammate Nicho Hynes if he is called into the Kangaroos starting side against New Zealand at Melbourne’s AAMI Park tomorrow night.
Hynes has been named to make his debut on the bench by coach Mal Meninga for the Week Three Pacific Championships match but could start if an illness to five-eighth Cameron Munster doesn’t clear up in time.
Tedesco told reporters in Melbourne after the Kangaroos team jersey presentation that he expected Munster to recover well enough to play.
But he knows that Hynes will handle the occasion if he’s called up to partner Daly Cherry-Evans.
“He’s been one of the best halves of the competition and his utility value off the bench means he can play anywhere,” Tedesco said.
“He’s just a good footy player when he has his hands on the ball so we’re really looking forward to what he can do.”
Tedesco has shown his talents as well scoring his ninth try in his 11th Test in Week One of the Championships in the 38-12 win against Samoa in Townsville a fortnight ago.
He wasn’t the only NSW Blues player to get on Australia’s score sheet.
Second rower and South Sydney skipper Cameron Murray scored Australia’s fourth try that night elevating him into rarefied air.
He became just the third forward in Kangaroos history to score in five consecutive Test matches after Ron Coote (six in 1968-69) and Steve Menzies (five in 1995).
Murray will be playing his eighth Test tomorrow night – each one has been with his Blues teammate as skipper.
They are among six True Blues in the side to face the Kiwis, the others being centre Kotoni Staggs, prop Jake Trbojebvic, lock Isaah Yeo and Hynes.
Tue Blue forwards Payne Haas and Liam Martin are being rested this week as the Kangaroos prepare to meet the Kiwis again in a week’s time for the final in Hamilton, New Zealand.
“Mal comes to me to ask my thoughts, but he always has the final say,” Tedesco said on the players omitted.
“It’s good to give the players who missed out last week a go. The strength this team has is depth in most positions.
“It’s all still Test footy so we want to put our best foot forward and get a win then take next week as it comes.
“It will be a whole new challenge to face them over there on their home soil so we want a good performance on Saturday so we can take a lot of confidence into the final.”
The last time these two rivals met was last year's World Cup Semi-final with the Kangaroos getting home 16-14 – True Blues Murray and Josh Addo-Carr were among the try scorers.