7 Oct 2010

Two debutants in Kiwis squad for Four Nations

6:00 am on 7 October 2010

Two debutants and a recall after a three-year absence are the features of the 23-man New Zealand rugby league squad named for the end-of-season Four Nations and a one-off Test against Samoa.

After just two seasons in the NRL, Warriors back rower Lewis Brown and Brisbane Broncos winger Antonio Winterstein have been included along with Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who hasn't played for the Kiwis since his only Test appearance against France in 2007.

Returning to the Kiwis for the first time since the World Cup triumph over Australia in 2008 is St George Illawarra's NRL premiership-winning loose forward Jeremy Smith.

Two other World Cup heroes rejoining the Kiwis after last playing in the 2009 Anzac Test are Warriors duo Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei.

Of the remaining 17 players chosen, 16 were involved in last year's Four Nations in England and France while Melbourne forward Sika Manu played in this year's Anzac Test in Melbourne.

Four players have tasted premiership success in the last few days - Smith, winger Jason Nightingale and utility Nathan Fien were all in the Dragons' NRL title-winning side against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday while halfback Thomas Leuluai helped the Wigan Warriors to the Super League title when they beat St Helens 22-10 at Old Trafford.

The Kiwis assemble in Auckland this Saturday and begin their programme with their historic first-ever Test against Samoa at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on October 16th.

The Kiwis' Four Nations encounters are against England at Westpac Stadium in Wellington (October 23), Papua New Guinea at the International Stadium in Rotorua (October 30) and Australia at Eden Park in Auckland (November 6).