Counting down to Kiwis being named

Vodafone Warriors Sam Rapira and Manu Vatuvei working out with the Kiwi train-on squad at Ellerslie Domain last week. Photo: Photosport


Rugby League World Cup fever comes into focus over the next two days with the Kiwis and the Kangaroos both announcing their squads for the tournament.


The Australians will reveal their squad today while Kiwi coach Stephen Kearney will be Auckland for the announcement of New Zealands 24 players tomorrow morning (the announcement is due at 9.00am from NZRL headquarters).


In recent weeks the Kiwi selectors have named a total of 30 players in a train-on squad. Theyve all been in contention along with a host of players involved in last nights NRL grand final.


Eight Vodafone Warriors have been training regularly in Auckland since their NRL season ended. Those included in the train-on squad were Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Kevin Locke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor and Manu Vatuvei.


The key question remains, of course, whether Sonny Bill Williams will make himself available after helping the Roosters to their 26-18 premiership victory over Manly.


Williams apart, other Roosters contenders for the Kiwis are centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall (now seemingly in doubt with a jaw injury), wing Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, props Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sam Moa and back rower Frank-Paul Nuuausala. In contention from the Manly line-up are Kieran Foran and Justin Horo while fullback Peta Hiku, who didnt play in the grand final, also impressing for the Sea Eagles when filling in for Brett Stewart this season (Steve Matai has made himself available for Samoa).


Every match from the Rugby League World Cup will be shown live on SKY Sport in New Zealand


The Kiwis begin their World Cup defence against Samoa in Warrington on October 27 with their other group matches against France in Avignon (November 1) and Papua New Guinea in Leeds (November 8).


They prepare for their campaign with a Test against the Cook Islands in Doncaster on October 20.


2013 KIWIS TRAIN-ON SQUAD:


Brisbane Broncos: Alex Glenn, Josh Hoffman

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs: Greg Eastwood, Krisnan Inu, Sam Kasiano, Sam Perrett, Frank Pritchard

Melbourne Storm: Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris, Kevin Proctor

Newcastle Knights: Jeremy Smith

North Queensland Cowboys: Jason Taumalolo, Antonio Winterstein

South Sydney Rabbitohs: Bryson Goodwin, Issac Luke

St George Illawarra Dragons: Bronson Harrison, Jason Nightingale

Penrith Panthers: Lewis Brown, Sam McKendry, Dean Whare

Vodafone Warriors: Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Kevin Locke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Manu Vatuvei

Wests Tigers: Adam Blair, Tim Simona


Also in line after last nights NRL grand final are:

Sydney Roosters: Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Sam Moa, Frank-Paul Nuuausala

Manly Sea Eagles: Kieran Foran, Justin Horo, Peta Hiku


SCHEDULE:


One-of Test:

October 20 v Cook Islands, Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster


Rugby League World Cup:

October 27 v Samoa, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington

November 1 v France, Parc des Sports, Avignon

November 8 v Papua New Guinea, Headingley Carnegie, Leeds

November 15-17 Quarter-finals (Leeds, Wrexham, Wigan, Warrington)

November 23 Semi-finals, Wembley Stadium, London

November 30 Final, Old Trafford, Manchester


Every match from the Rugby League World Cup will be shown live on SKY Sport in New Zealand