Five Vodafone Warriors including rookies Tuimoala Lolohea and Solomone Kata are among the first intake of players named in the Kiwis’ train-on squad ahead of the end of season tour to England.
The 20-year-olds, who has just finished their first full NRL seasons, join Vodafone Warriors and Kiwi captain Simon Mannering, prop Ben Matulino and second rower Bodene Thompson in the squad.
Ruled out following surgery were Thomas Leuluai (knee), Manu Vatuvei (shoulder) and Shaun Johnson (ankle) – ho all played in this year’s Anzac Test – plus and Ben Henry (knee).
Three other potential Kiwi debutants were also named today – Wests Tigers hooker Manaia Cherrington and Tigers centre Tim Simona as well as Parramatta second rower Manu Ma’u.
While Thompson was in the Kiwis’ Four Nations squad last year he is also yet to play for his country.
More players will be added to the squad as teams are eliminated from the NRL finals.
Train-on camps will begin on September 23 in Auckland and Sydney, with the 23-strong touring side to be announced soon after the NRL grand final on October 4.
2015 TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Parramatta | Manu Ma’u
Penrith | Lewis Brown, Sam McKendry, Elijah Taylor, Dean Whare
Manly | Kieran Foran, Peta Hiku
Wests Tigers | Manaia Cherrington, Tim Simona, Martin Taupau
Vodafone Warriors | Solomone Kata, Tuimoala Lolohea, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Bodene Thompson