Shaun Johnson set to return for Kiwis
Shaun Johnson is back in the Kiwis fold after being named in an extended squad by head coach Michael Maguire.
Shaun Johnson has earned a recall to the Kiwis set-up as part of an extended squad announced by head coach Michael Maguire ahead of the Rugby League World Cup.
Experienced playmaker Johnson was overlooked for the Pacific Test win over Tonga earlier this year due to indifferent form with the Warriors, with Maguire backing a new-look halves pairing of Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown.
The 32-cap international was part of a 34-man group announced by Maguire on Thursday, with the squad to be reduced prior to this year’s World Cup in England.
Canberra’s Brisbane-born centre Seb Kris, who qualifies through his mother, is a surprise call-up.
He joins fellow uncapped Raiders centre Matt Timoko as part of a six-man strong Canberra contingent headlined by in-form prop Joe Tapine, Corey Harawira-Naera, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Jordan Rapana.
Canterbury hooker Jeremy Marshall-King is in line for a maiden Test cap, while experienced internationals Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Kodi Nikorima also return to the set-up.
Centre Joey Manu is included after missing the Sydney Roosters’ finals loss to South Sydney with a calf injury.
“We’re excited about the depth of players available and the form they’re in,” Maguire said.
“The vast majority of them are in sides that made it into the finals which is a real positive as we look ahead to the tournament.”
The Kiwis will play the Leeds Rhinos in a warm-up game at Headingley on October 8, when retiring former New Zealand captain Tommy Leuluai will play his final professional game.
New Zealand open their World Cup campaign in group games against Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland.
WIDER KIWIS SQUAD: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Dylan Brown, James Fisher-Harris, Kieran Foran, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Corey Harawira-Naera, Peta Hiku, Jahrome Hughes, Shaun Johnson, Seb Kris*, Moses Leota, Isaac Liu, Joseph Manu, Jeremy Marshall-King*, Te Maire Martin, Ken Maumalo, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Griffin Neame*, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Briton Nikora, Kodi Nikorima, Marata Niukore, Isaiah Papali’i, Jordan Rapana, Jordan Riki*, Bailey Simonsson*, Brandon Smith, Scott Sorensen*, Joe Tapine, Matt Timoko*, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
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Great piece Nick - as always. Rassie would snap you up as an analyst - he began his journey in international rugby as just that - for Jake White who has said many times that the WC isn’t won by attack but by defence. And the key to defence is in the centre. Le Roux and Muller, Steyn and Fourie, de Allende and Am pairings have two things in common. WC winners and outstanding defending combinations. Ringrose and Henshaw are very nearly as good on the defence better on attack than and of the SA combinations. If those two combinations (SA and Irish centre parings) face off in the WC first round it is going to be interesting. I think those two combinations are certainly the most settled and arguably the two best in the world.,Go to comments
Great game but boy was that an I’ll tempered crowd. Having spent six months working in Ireland and attending numerous games and coming into contact with the rugby loving people of Dublin I was struck by the Irish courtesy and good sportsmanship. Last night I was bitterly disappointed at the crowd. They booed virtually ever decision that went against them no matter how obvious. I know that crowds all round the world boo - my theory is it started in Australia where barracking and sledging is part of the game - but I had fondly held to the belief I formed ten years ago that the Irish were different. The youngsters offered me their seat on the Dart - something that had never happened anywhere else in my extensive travels. Now that seems to have been lost. I am saddened.Go to comments