5 Oct 2009

Mixture of new, old and recalled in Kiwis Four Nations squad

2:54 pm on 5 October 2009

Seven debutants have been named in the 23-strong New Zealand rugby league side to take part in this month's four nations tournament in England and France and for a warm up test against Tonga.

Coach Stephen Kearney says they're looking to develop players for the 2013 world cup and with that in mind have named chosen first timers Kieran Foran and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves from Manly, Kevin Locke and Ben Matulino from the Warriors, Bryson Goodwin of the Bulldogs, Frank-Paul Nuuausala from the Sydney Roosters and Junior Sau of Newcastle.

Foran, Locke and Waerea-Hargreaves made their NRL debuts this year, Matulino and Sau made theirs last year and Goodwin and Nuuausala first appeared at first-grade level in 2007.

Auckland-born Stand-off halfback Foran scored six tries in nine NRL appearances for the Sea Eagles this year while 110kg Rotorua-born back rower Waerea-Hargreaves was used six times at top level by Manly.

Locke played 12 times on the wing for the Warriors while Auckland-born Sau appeared in all 25 of Newcastle's games this year and has now played 37 NRL matches in all.

Matulino has 33 NRL appearances across the past two seasons and Aucklander Nuuausala boosted his career tally to 38 by playing all 24 of the Roosters' games this year.

Winger Goodwin is one of St George legend Ted Goodwin's three sons who have all played NRL football.

Born in Australia, he qualifies for the Kiwis through his Maori grand mother and has also played for New Zealand Maori.

While a number of players were out of contention for the Four Nations tour through injury, Kearney said the Kiwis now benefited from much improved depth in player quality in all positions.

Of the squad used in last year's successful World Cup campaign, 12 are in this Four Nations touring party while utility Iosia Soliola was an original World Cup selection.

Among the players recalled are second rower Frank Pritchard, who last played for the Kiwis in the Australian Rugby League's 2008 Centenary Test but missed the World Cup and this year's Anzac Test through injury.

Prop Fuifui Moimoi made his Kiwi debut in 2007 and returns after a two-year absence on the back of his compelling form for beaten NRL grand finalists the Parramatta Eels.

Grand final-winning Melbourne forwards Adam Blair and Jeff Lima are both in the squad as is centre Krisnan Inu from the beaten Parramatta side.

Also back after missing the Anzac Test is Manly centre Steve Matai while Benji Marshall is again captain after leading the Kiwis once during the World Cup and again in the May international against the Kangaroos in May.

The Kiwis will be in camp for 10-days, starting in Auckland on Wednesday before moving to Rotorua on Saturday to prepare for their one-off Test against Tonga.

They fly out for England on Friday week with their opening Four Nations match against Australia the following weekend.