Webb named in Tri-Nations squad
Brent Webb has been named in the New Zealand squad for the Gillette Tri-Nations series in England and France later this year.
Wigan scrum half or hooker Thomas Leuluai is one of 20 members of the 24-man squad that carried the Kiwis to World Cup glory in last November’s final against Australia.
Webb is included after missing the tournament through injury and there is a recall for Warrington second rower Louis Anderson.
Also included in coach Stephen Kearney’s initial squad are South Sydney forward David Fa’alogo and Sydney Roosters centre Iosia Soliola, who will both be playing in Super League in 2010 with Huddersfield and St Helens respectively, and Canterbury Bulldogs forward Greg Eastwood, who is due to join Leeds.
The only players not selected from the World Cup are captain Nathan Cayless, who has retired from international football, injured pair Sika Manu and Evarn Tuimavave and David Kidwell, who has been in playing the New South Wales Cup.
As well as Webb, Kearney has recalled Roy Asotasi, Jeff Lima, Frank Pritchard and Soliola, who also missed the World Cup through injury and join 13 uncapped players.
"The squad reinforces the quality and depth of players we have to choose from when looking to select New Zealand teams these days," said Kearney. "It’s getting better all the time.
"We’ve named 45 players but there are plenty with good claims that haven’t been included. That’s a sign of the competition we now have for spots and that has to be good for our game.
"There’s a lot of football to be played before we can be sure what team we will finally have for the Four Nations but we believe we’ll have a competitive squad to go to Europe."
The Kiwis will take on Tonga in a one-off Test in Rotorua on October 14 before setting off for London, where they will open their Four Nations campaign against Australia at the Twickenham Stoop 10 days later.
Their next match is against France in Toulouse on October 31 before the Kiwis return to the United Kingdom to meet England at Huddersfield on November 7. The final will be played at Elland Road a week later.
New Zealand squad: L Anderson (Warrington), R Asotasi (South Sydney), A Blair (Melbourne), L Covell (Cronulla), G Eastwood (Canterbury), D Fa’alogo (South Sydney), N Fien (St George Illawarra), K Foran (Manly), A Glenn (Brisbane), B Goodwin (Bulldogs), D Halatau (Wests Tigers), B Harrison (Canberra), L Hohaia (NZ Warriors), K Inu (Parramatta), S Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), T Leuluai (Wigan), J Lima (Melbourne), K Locke, I Luke (South Sydney), S Mannering, B Marshall (Wests Tigers), S Matai (Manly), B Matulino (NZ Warriors), F Moimoi (Parramatta), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), F-P Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), R Packer, S Perrett (Sydney Roosters), E Pettybourne (South Sydney), F Pritchard (Penrith), S Rapira (NZ Warriors), B Roberts (Canterbury), J Ropati, S Sa (Sydney Roosters), J Sau (Newcastle), J Smith (St George Illawarra), I Soliola (Sydney Roosters), C Stanley (St George Illawarra), Z Taia (Newcastle), F Talanoa (South Sydney), T Tuiaki (Wests Tigers), M Vatuvei, J Waerea-Hargreaves (Manly), B Webb (Leeds), A Winterstein (Brisbane).