Rugby League World Cup: New Zealand forward Frank Pritchard to miss final against Australia
Last Updated: 29/11/13 6:56am
Frank Pritchard: New Zealand forward to miss World Cup final
New Zealand second rower Frank Pritchard has been ruled out of Saturday's World Cup final against Australia at Old Trafford.
The experienced Penrith forward has failed to recover from the hamstring injury that forced him to sit out last Saturday's dramatic semi-final victory over England at Wembley.
Coach Stephen Kearney has called up Leeds second rower Greg Eastwood, who is one of four survivors from the Kiwis' World Cup-winning team from 2008, and will be vying with Alex Glenn to replace Pritchard.
"We made a final decision on Frank this morning," said Kearney on Thursday afternoon.
"He'd love to play and we'd love to have him there but the stakes are as high as they get this weekend and he's not 100 per cent.
"It's naturally very tough for him to be this close and ruled out but we're very happy with our cover."
Kearney has also included Jason Nightingale in his 19-man squad to provide cover for first-choice wingers Manu Vatuvei and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who have slight injury concerns.
Full-back Billy Slater has been named in Australia's 19-man squad after making good progress in his recovery from a knee injury sustained in the Kangaroos' quarter-final win over the USA but a final decision on his fitness is likely to be left until the day of the game.
If Slater is fit to return, Greg Inglis will revert to centre at the expense of Brent Tate, who could yet be handed a place on the bench, possibly at the expense of young forward Josh Papalii.
Australia squad: C Smith (Melbourne, capt), G Bird (Gold Coast), D Boyd (Newcastle), D Cherry-Evans (Manly), C Cronk (Melbourne), A Fifita (Cronulla), J Hayne (Parramatta), P Gallen (Cronulla), G Inglis (South Sydney), B Morris (St George Illawarra), N Myles (Gold Coast), J Papalii (Canberra), C Parker (Brisbane), M Scott (North Queensland), B Slater (Melbourne), J Tamou (North Queensland), B Tate (North Queensland), S Thaiday (Brisbane), J Thurston (North Queensland).
New Zealand squad: J Bromwich (Melbourne), G Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs), K Foran (Manly), A Glenn (Brisbane), B Goodwin (South Sydney), S Johnson (NZ Warriors), S Kasiano (Canterbury Bulldogs), K Locke (NZ Warriors), I Luke (South Sydney), S Mannnering (NZ Warriors, capt), B Matulino (NZ Warriors), J Nightingale (St George Illawarra), F-P Nu'uausala (Sydney Roosters), E Taylor (NZ Warriors), R Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), M Vatuvei (NZ Warriors), J Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), D Whare (Penrith), S B Williams (Sydney Roosters).