Four months after making his international comeback following a seven-year absence, halfback Benji Marshall will now captain New Zealand for the first time since 2012 this Friday when the Kiwis take on Australia at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
The Test will be Marshall's record 20th appearance as captain of New Zealand.
Wests Tigers and New Zealand Coach Michael Maguire made the announcement of Marshall's captaincy in Sydney on Monday as the Kiwis begin their preparation for following Saturday night’s loss to Australia in the World Cup Nines.
Marshall wasn’t used in the short-form game to prepare for the end-of-season Test campaign which continues after this week’s match with two clashes against the Great Britain Lions in Auckland on November 2 and Christchurch on November 9.
Marshall replaces the unavailable Dallin Watene-Zelezniak as captain, who led the Kiwis in their last five Tests against Australia, England and Tonga.
Marshall’s 29th Test since his debut in 2005 will take him ahead of Gary Freeman for the most Tests as Kiwi captain. They were level on 19 after Marshall last captained the side against Australia in Townsville in October, 2012.
The 34-year-old Whakatane-born playmaker led the Kiwis for the first time when he stood in for an injured Nathan Cayless against England in Newcastle during the triumphant 2008 Rugby League World Cup campaign.