RLWC2021: New Zealand name 34-man wider squad for World Cup

Josh McAllister
Jahrome Hughes New Zealand PA RLWC2021

New Zealand boss Michael Maguire has named a 34-man wider squad ahead of this year’s RLWC2021 which will be cut down ahead of the tournament. 

10 players have been added from their mid-season test win over Tonga.

Experienced half-back Shaun Johnson has been called into the wider squad, having been left out of the side that played on June 25.

Among the additions are also Kodi Nikorima and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves along with Corey Harawira-Naera, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who all made their New Zealand debuts in 2019.

Of the 25 players named in the extended squad for the 26-6 win over Mate Ma’a Tonga in June only Gold Coast hooker Erin Clark isn’t included after being ruled out following knee surgery.

Several players could make their debuts for New Zealand at this year’s World Cup. Canberra Raiders duo Sebastian Kris and Matthew Timoko have both been called up having helped lead their team into the NRL finals. Jeremy Marshall-King, Jordan Riki and Scott Sorensen could also all make their Kiwis debut. 

Extended RLWC2021 squad

Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm), Dylan Brown, Marata Niukore, Isaiah Papali’i, Bailey Simonsson (Parramatta Eels), James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota (Penrith Panthers), Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), Braden Hamlin-Uele, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora, Scott Sorensen (Cronulla Sharks), Corey Harawira-Naera, Sebastian Kris, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine, Matthew Timoko (Canberra Raiders), Peta Hiku, Griffin Neame (North Queensland Cowboys), Shaun Johnson, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (NZ Warriors), Isaac Liu (Gold Coast Titans), Joseph Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Jeremy Marshall-King (Canterbury Bulldogs), Te Maire Martin, Jordan Riki (Brisbane Broncos), Ken Maumalo (Wests Tigers), Kodi Nikorima (South Sydney Rabbitohs).

New Zealand boss on wider squad

“We wanted to name a wider squad so we have all options covered while the NRL finals are playing out,” said head coach Maguire.

“We’re excited about the depth of players available and the form they’re in. The vast majority of them are in sides that made it into the finals which is a real positive as we look ahead to the tournament.”

The side are due to assemble in Sydney on September 27 where they’ll train for two days before flying to England on September 30.

Based in York for the RLWC2021 campaign, New Zealand will feature in Group C alongside Lebanon, Ireland and Jamaica. They will enjoy a warm-up match against Leeds at Headingley on October 8 which will see 2008 World Cup winner Thomas Leuluai  guest captain in the final match of his decorated career before retiring.

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