New Zealand Rugby League has revealed its 24-man squad to represent the Kiwis in this year’s Rugby League World Cup to be jointly hosted between New Zealand and Australia.
The squad includes five debutants, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Addin Fonua-Blake, Danny Levi, Isaac Liu and Brad Takairangi as well as three from the victorious 2008 Rugby League World Cup Kiwis side, Captain Adam Blair and veterans Thomas Leuluai and Simon Mannering.
Three players who featured in the recent NRL Grand Final have been selected including Kenneath Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona who were a part of the victorious Melbourne Storm.
Dally M Winger of the Year Jordan Rapana has also been named alongside Shaun Johnson, Te Maire Martin, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jason Nightingale, Kodi Nikorima, Peta Hiku, Gerard Beale, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Dean Whare.
Martin Taupau, Russell Packer, Elijah Taylor, Joseph Tapine and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves round out the 24-man squad.
Coach David Kidwell says he and his fellow selectors, Tawera Nikau, Hugh McGahan and Tony Iro, are all proud and excited to name an enthusiastic squad that includes leadership, experience and a real want to work hard for each other.
“This is a unique opportunity, a World Cup in our country is a great honour and I can’t wait to get into camp and work this this group of men and women who are all committed to the Kiwis,” Kidwell said.
“There’s a great mix of enthusiasm and experience in this side and a real desire to win this World Cup, I can’t wait to show the people around New Zealand all the work we have been doing and how committed we are to this campaign.”
Players not considered due to injury include Tohu Harris, Jordan Kahu, Kieran Foran and Ben Matulino, while Jason Taumalolo, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and David Fusitu’a opted to represent Mate Ma’a Tonga.
New Zealand World Cup squad
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Warriors)
Dallin Watene Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers)
Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Jordan Rapana (Canberra Raiders)
Gerard Beale (Cronulla Sharks/Warriors)
Brad Takairangi (Parramatta Eels)
Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers)
Peta Hiku (Warrington Wolves)
Shaun Johnson (Warriors)
Thomas Leuluai (Wigan Warriors)
Kodi Nikorima (Brisbane Broncos)
Te Maire Martin (North Queensland Cowboys)
Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights)
Adam Blair (Brisbane Broncos/Warriors, captain)
Martin Taupau (Manly Sea Eagles)
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters)
Russell Packer (St George Illawarra Dragons/Wests Tigers)
Addin Fonua-Blake (Many Sea Eagles)
Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne Storm)
Simon Mannering (Warriors)
Kenny Bromwich (Melbourne Storm)
Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders)
Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters)
Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers)