Morgan beats Munster for Kangaroos No.6

Michael Morgan has held off a challenge from Cameron Munster for the five-eighth spot in the Kangaroos' Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Samoa.

 

Coach Mal Meninga also selected Josh McGuire to start at lock, while rookie Reagan Campbell-Gillard will fill one of the bench spots.

After rotating his squad through the qualifying games, Meninga promised to select his best 17 available in Darwin for what is a must-win clash.

"A lot of pressure internally by some of the younger ones but at this stage I'll go with the tried and true and go with the team that has got some good experience," Meninga said on Tuesday.

Maloney wins Kangaroos No.6 spot. Pic: Getty

Munster made a huge push to partner Cooper Cronk against Samoa after scoring four tries in Australia's final two pool games of the tournament.

However Meninga stuck with Morgan, who was quiet in their opening win over England but set up two tries in their rout of France before being rested against Lebanon.

McGuire moves into the starting line-up after the season-ending injury to Jake Trbojevic, paving the way for Campell-Gillard to beat Felise Kaufusi for the final bench position.

McGuire's promotion comes six months after captaining Samoa in a mid-year Test.

Meninga said the five-eighth role and his bench were his toughest decisions.

"When you look at our 13, it picks itself in a way. But there was plenty of pressure being exerted by the younger ones," he said.

"Our bench was the one we mused over a fair bit considering who we play against. Samoa are a big side. I went with what we thought was good against England because they've got a big side.

The Kangaroos have won both previous Tests against Samoa, with victory on Friday setting up a semi-final clash with either New Zealand or Fiji in Brisbane.

KANGAROOS TEAM: Billy Slater, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Michael Morgan, Cooper Cronk, Aaron Woods, Cameron Smith (c), David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Wade Graham, Jordan McLean, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Tyson Frizell. Extended bench: Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster, James Maloney, Ben Hunt.

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