22 Apr 2009

Kearney says he won't believe Jones is unavailable tell he hears it himself

5:56 pm on 22 April 2009

The Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney says he won't believe champion halfback Stacey Jones is retired from Test rugby league until he hears it from the man himself.

Kearney says the 32-year-old Jones remains in the Test equation for world champion New Zealand to face Australia in Brisbane on May 8 and he'll call him this week for a chat.

Kearney says Jones has retired a couple of times and it would be silly for him not to check it out.

Jones has already indicated he's unavailable for an international return.

He played the last of his 46 Tests in 2006.

Back in contention though will be Roy Asotasi, Frank Pritchard and Iosia Soliola, who missed the World Cup through injury.

But Kearney says captain Nathan Cayless won't be playing as he's confirmed his international retirement after a decade-long 38-Test career.

Kearney wouldn't label Cayless' successor until after he'd spoken with fellow-selectors Howie Tamati, Darrell Williams and Tony Kemp later this week.

Kearney will also contact Christchurch-born, Sydney-raised forward Eddie Pettybourne to check his availability.

The prop come second rower has made an impact with Souths this year but hadn't yet committed to either Australia or New Zealand.