RugbyL: Mannering made New Zealand captain

Simon Mannering was appointed captain of New Zealand's national rugby league team on Friday following star playmaker Benji Marshall's shock axing from the skipper's role.

Mannering, who already captains the New Zealand Warriors in Australia's NRL competition, said he was proud to lead the Kiwis, who will defend their Rugby League World Cup title in Britain later this year.

"It's a massive honour to even be considered for the role, let alone to be chosen to lead your country," the 26-year-old said.

Coach Stephen Kearney took the captain's armband from a disappointed Marshall this week, saying he wanted to ease the burden on his best player so he could shine at the World Cup.

"In very trying circumstances this week, Benji, who has always loved leading his country, responded like a true champion, which I expected," Kearney said.

Mannering's first Test in charge of the Kiwis is against the Kangaroos in Canberra on April 19.