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15 Dec 2017 11:49
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Josh Mansour could miss 'Roos RLWC opener

    Australian back Darius Boyd has been ruled out of the rugby league World Cup due to injury, with Josh Mansour his replacement.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Kangaroos call-up Josh Mansour admits he could miss Australia's World Cup opener against England due to the impending birth of his first child.

    Mansour was rushed into Australia camp on Thursday after star Darius Boyd was ruled out of the tournament with his ongoing hamstring issues.

    His selection followed the shock defection of prop Andrew Fifita to join Tonga, which came one day after Jason Taumalolo also turned his back on the Kiwis to play for the second-tier nation.

    Panthers teammate Reagan Campbell-Gillard was drafted in early on Thursday morning.

    However Mansour could be unavailable during the early stages of Australia's campaign, with wife Daniella due to give birth early next month.

    The Kangaroos open their tournament in Melbourne against England on October 27, before meeting France in Canberra the following week.

    "There's no plan at the moment. Baby's due on the second and whatever happens around that, we're just going to have to wait and see," Mansour said on Thursday.

    It is the second time international duty has interrupted the Mansour household, with the Penrith winger forced to delay his honeymoon last year due to the Four Nations in Europe.

    Mansour insisted it would be him making the sacrifice this time around.

    "She sacrificed a lot in my football career so I think I'm going to be there for her. She's really supported me a lot these last 12 months," Mansour said.

    "She's been amazing and I'm very lucky to have her by my side. I'm definitely going to be there with her and hopefully it can be a good day for us."

    After originally missing out on selection for the Kangaroos on Tuesday, Mansour had knocked back an offer to play for his native Lebanon under coach Brad Fittler.

    "It's been a very taxing year on my mind and my body and I thought it would've been a good opportunity to spend time with the wife," he said.

    "Not having a honeymoon with her last year really hurt and she's sacrificed a lot. I owed her."

    But he couldn't turn down a green-and-gold jumper, which includes a possible $50,000 pay day.

    Mansour's recall completes a comeback from injury, having torn his ACL playing for the Kangaroos in the Four Nations that stole half his 2017 NRL season.

    "These opportunities don't come around often. To play in a World Cup on home soil, it's very exciting and rewarding, especially after what's happened the last 12 months," he said.

    Fifita's about-face comes a year after being made unavailable for Four Nations selection due to his support for one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge, although he was back for the May Test.

    Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga supported Fifita's decision to switch allegiances.

    "Andrew called me and said he was passionate about playing for Tonga and I respect and support that decision," Meninga said.

    "It is obviously a significant boost for Tonga as well as the World Cup - and international rugby league in general.

    "It is also a great opportunity for someone like Reagan, who has been outstanding for the Panthers. I'm extremely excited about seeing Reagan in a Kangaroos jersey."

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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