9 Oct 2008

Kiwis confident in number of playmakers

8:07 am on 9 October 2008

The New Zealand rugby League selectors believe an unprecedented number of playmaking options could set them up for winning the World Cup which starts at the end of the month.

The Kiwis announced a 24-man squad on Tuesday missing a few big names with Roy Asotasi and Frank Pritchard injured and rugby union defector Sonny Bill Williams no longer an option.

But while the back-up depth in the forwards means the talented trio won't be missed too much, it's the availability of specialists at fullback, the halves and hooker that has convenor of selectors Howie Tamati excited.

Tamati feels they've probably never been in a better position in New Zealand rugby league, and they're now in the position where they don't have to play players out of position.

Wigan's Thomas Leuluai is likely to start at halfback, while Wests Tigers' Benji Marshall is back from injury to fill the five-eighth berth.

A total of 16 players from the Kiwis squad will also be turning out for the All Golds against the New Zealand Maori in New Plymouth on Sunday.