Kiwis select Sonny Bill

Kearney picks just two from Super League clubs in Kiwis' 49-man party

Last Updated: 08/08/08 11:45am

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Leulai: Included in initial 49-man squad for World Cup

Leulai: Included in initial 49-man squad for World Cup

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New Zealand have named Sonny Bill Williams in their World Cup squad despite the player attempting to switch codes.

The former Canterbury Bulldog walked out on the NRL side to join French rugby union outfit Toulon just 12 months into a five-year deal.

However the Bulldogs have now won a court injunction to prevent Williams' move to Toulon - just hours before his scheduled debut.

Despite the ongoing saga surrounding his future, the forward has been selected in the Kiwis' initial 49-man party for this year's World Cup.

Difficult position

"It is a difficult position given that court proceedings are underway but we are not able to pre-judge any outcomes," New Zealand Rugby League chairman Ray Haffenden said of Williams' inclusion.

"One thing we do know is that, with or without his involvement, New Zealand will be focused on winning the World Cup."

Coach Stephen Kearney has picked just two players from the engage Super League - Wigan's Thomas Leuluai and Brent Webb of Leeds.

There is also a place for St George Illawarra's Rangi Chase, who is moving to Castleford next season.

There are a total of 16 uncapped players included as well as some who have also bee picked by Tonga and Samoa.

New Zealand begin their cup campaign against defending champions Australia on October 26 before facing Papua New Guinea on November 1 and then England seven days later.

New Zealand squad for the Rugby League World Cup:
Fraser Anderson (Conulla Sharks), Roy Asotasi (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Adam Blair (Melbourne Storm), Nathan Cayless (Parramatta Eels), Rangi Chase (St George-Illawarra Dragos), Anthony Cherrington (Sydney Roosters), Greg Eastwood (Brisbane Broncos), David Fa'alogo (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Sonny Fai, Nathan Fien (NZ Warriors), Dene Halatau (Wests Tigers), Bronson Harrison (Wests Tigers), Weller Hauraki (Parramatta Eels), Lance Hohaia, Krisnan Inu (Parramatta Eels), Masada Iosefa (Penrith Panthers), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), David Kidwell (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan), Jeff Lima (Melbourne Storm), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Simon Mannering (NZ Warriors), Sika Manu (Melbourne Storm), Manase Manuokafoa (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers), Steve Matai (Manly Sea Eagles), Ben Matulino, Fui Fui Moimoi (Parramatta Eels), Jason Nightingale (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Eddie Paea (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Sam Perrett (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Penrith Panthers), Sam Rapira, Ben Roberts (Canterbury Bulldogs), Jerome Ropati, Setaimata Sa (Sydney Roosters), Jeremy Smith (Melbourne Storm), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), Chase Stanley (St George-Illawarra Dragons), Fetuli Talanoa (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Taulima Tautai (Parramatta Eels), Lee Te Maari (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ben Te'o (Wests Tigers), Taniela Tuiaki (Wests Tigers), Evarn Tuimavave, Manu Vatuvei, Cooper Vuna (Newcastle Knights), Brent Webb (Leeds), Sonny Bill Williams (Canterbury Bulldogs, subject to eligibility and availability).

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