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Captain of both club and country Simon Mannering (pictured with Kiwi coach Simon Mannering) heads a group of seven Vodafone Warriors named for the Kiwis Rugby League World Cup title defence kicking off later this month. Photo: Photosport

Along with winger Manu Vatuvei and utility Thomas Leuluai, Mannering is a survivor of the Kiwis stunning 34-20 World Cup win against the Kangaroos at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane five years ago.

The other Vodafone Warriors named in the squad today were fullback Kevin Locke, halfback Shaun Johnson, prop Ben Matulino and back rower Elijah Taylor.

Mannering and Leuluai with 30 Tests each are the Kiwi squads most experienced internationals while Vatuvei is also one of the longest-serving with 20 Tests stretching back to the 2005 Tri Nations in England. Leuluai made his Kiwi debut in 2003 and Mannering in 2006.

As well as Mannering, Leuluai and Vatuvei, other survivors from the line-up that won the World Cup in 2008 are Issac Luke and Greg Eastwood while Jason Nightingale and Krisnan Inu were in the squad for the tournament.

Todays team announcement was notable, as expected, for confirmation that Sonny Bill Williams would not be available for the World Cup. Also not considered were veteran Jeremy Smith and first-choice centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall; Smith is unavailable for personal family-related reasons while Kenny-Dowall broke his jaw in the Sydney Roosters grand final win against Manly on Sunday.

The only players yet to make their Test debuts for the Kiwis are winger Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and prop Sam Moa. Four members of the Roosters grand final-winning side have been included in the Kiwi team Tuivasa-Sheck, Moa, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Frank-Paul Nuuausala.


The full squad is (with official Kiwi number and Test appearances):

Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), 775, 3

Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), 737, 18

Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), vice-captain, 757, 9

Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), 769, 6

Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 752, 4

Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm), 778, 1

Josh Hoffman (Brisbane Broncos), 773, 3

Krisnan Inu (Canterbury Bulldogs), 735, 5

Shaun Johnson (Vodafone Warriors), 774, 2

Sam Kasiano (Canterbury Bulldogs), 777, 1

Thomas Leuluai (Vodafone Warriors), 704, 30

Kevin Locke (Vodafone Warriors), 758, 4

Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), 749, 23

Simon Mannering (Vodafone Warriors), captain, 731, 30

Ben Matulino (Vodafone Warriors), 756, 14

Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), 0, 0

Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), 747, 17

Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), 754, 9

Frank Pritchard (Canterbury Bulldogs), 718, 24

Elijah Taylor (Vodafone Warriors), 770, 4

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), 0, 0

Manu Vatuvei (Vodafone Warriors), 720, 20

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), 755, 12

Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers), 776, 2

The Kiwis assemble in Sydney this weekend and will train at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation in Narrabeen at 10am on Sunday before flying to the United Kingdom on Monday. They begin their tour with a pre-Rugby League World Cup international against the Cook Islands in Doncaster on October 20.


SKY Sport coverage Kiwis:

New Zealand v Samoa, Monday, October 28, 6.45am, SKY Sport 2

New Zealand v France, Saturday, November 2, 7.30am, SKY Sport 2

New Zealand v Papua New Guinea, Saturday, November 9, 8.30am, SKY Sport 2

SKY Sport coverage Play-offs:

Quarter Final 1, Saturday, November 16, 8.30am, SKY Sport 2

Quarter Final 2, Sunday, November 17, 1.45am, SKY Sport 2

Quarter Final 3, Sunday, November 17, 8.45am, SKY Sport 2

Quarter Final 4, Monday, November 18, 3.45am, SKY Sport 2

Semi Final 1, Sunday, November 24, 1.30am, SKY Sport 2

Semi Final 2, Sunday, November 24, 4.15am, SKY Sport 2

Final, Sunday, December 01, 3.00am, SKY Sport 2
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