Kiwis suffer injury problems

New Zealand will enter the Gillette Four Nations without eight key players who have been ruled out through injury.

Coach Stephen Kearney will announce his 23-man squad for the tournament on Monday 5th October.

The World Cup winners will be without Roy Asotasi, Simon Mannering, Sika Manu, Sam Rapira, Jerome Ropati, Zeb Taia, Taniela Tuiaki and Manu Vatuvei.

“While it’s obviously disappointing when players are unavailable, it’s also a reality when you’re dealing with a competition that’s as tough as the NRL,” said Kearney.

“We lost a lot of players who were in contention for the World Cup last year but we still had a very committed group of players who were desperate to represent New Zealand and had a real belief. It’s exactly the same now.”

Super League-based players Louis Anderson (Warrington), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan) and Brent Webb (Leeds) are all in contention for a place in the squad.

The Kiwis will play a warm-up game against Tonga on October 14th before travelling to London for their Four Nations opener against Australia.

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