Rugby League Kiwis to gamble on Benji Marshall, Sonny Bill

Northern_Union

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Benji Marshall and Sonny Bill Williams remain in the Kiwis' wider squad for the World Cup, despite doubts over whether either will travel to England and France.
Marshall has confirmed he's playing Super Rugby next year for the Blues and Williams has been linked with a return to the Chiefs.
But Kiwis manager Tony Iro confirmed that both remain in the 38-man wider squad and continue to receive information from the NZRL and Kiwis' management about the cup.
"Nothing has changed in that regard," Iro told Sunday News.
"Unless we hear otherwise, they'll remain as part of our wider group.
"All 38 players in the wider group have received details of the tournament, including schedules, travel dates and when their training camps start."
When eight-test prop Sam McKendry broke his neck playing for the Panthers in April it appeared his World Cup dreams were over. But the 24-year-old prop has made a remarkable recovery, and Iro says he remains in contention.
"We know what he's capable of and with Ivan [Cleary] being involved as his coach [at the Panthers] we've got a good line on where Sam sits in terms of his fitness and how he's shaping up.
"He was always on our list and he's desperate to be on this trip, so I know he'll be doing everything he can to be a part of it."
Iro has just returned from England, where he went over the arrangements for the Kiwis in the cities they'll visit.
"We've had a number of hotel and training facility changes since the start of the year, so it was about ironing all of those out.
"It was really important for us, because most of the teams have got a base where they'll be for four to six weeks, but we're going to be in five cities over that time.
"There was a lot of logistical stuff to sort, but I'm reasonably confident that we've been able to tick most of the boxes.
"Although there are still a few details to be ironed out in each city, I am a lot clearer now on what we can expect when we get over there."
There will be between 11 and 13 support staff with the Kiwis at various times during the cup, and a highlight of the pool stages promises to be their clash against France, in Avignon, on November 1.
"I have had a bit of an e-mail conversation with the organisers there," Iro said. "They've had a really good response to the game and they're reasonably confident it will be sold out, so that's 17,000 seats.
"Talking to the UK people, they're expecting a real passionate crowd for that game."
The 24-man cup squad will be named after the NRL Grand Final, on October 6. The selectors, Stephen Kearney and Cleary, will want to see if any players in contention get injured in that game, but there is also the risk of suspensions, as any bans dished out by the NRL will carry over for the cup.
The last thing the Kiwis want is to have someone like Jared Waerea-Hargreaves slapped with a seven-week ban for a shoulder charge.
"As far as I'm concerned, there's not much you can worry about, whatever happens, happens," Iro said.
"Regardless, I am reasonably confident we'll have a good squad going up there, and we'll just wear whatever we'll have to wear."
- © Fairfax NZ News
 

TerryG

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In a team picked on merit or form, wouldn't there have to be injuries to two out of Kieran Foran, Thomas Leuluai and Shaun Johnson before Benji Marshall gets is named to run on in the Kiwis halves?

Even Isaac John might be selected on merit ahead of Benji Marshall.

The last Kiwis team was picked on merit -- No Fuifui Moimoi, Adam Blair or Jeremy Smith and Steve Matai if I recall correctly.

Benji Marshall and Kevin Locke might have both been absent through injury, but Benji had definitely lost the captaincy due to poor form.

Given this and the fact that Benji's future is no longer aligned to League, I'd be surprised to see Benji in a Kiwis jersey ever again unless he's wearing one for old-times sake while watching the game from a pub in Campbelltown or Auckland.

Sonny Bill Williams is different. He is in red hot form and even played 5/8th this year in the Roosters. You'd have to be crazy to exclude him.
 

Northern_Union

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I tend to agree. On merit Benji on form is behind Thoms Luluai, Issac John, Keron Foran and Shaun Johnson, not in that order. And his form is miles and miles away from what it was when he was leading the Kiwis.
$BW is different. As much as i detest and down right hate the way he has treated our game and continues to use it for his own means i think his form is just to good to ignore going into the world cup. I think in $BW's case those people like me need to swallow a rat and admit our national team needs $BW at the world cup.
 
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TerryG

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Marshall out of league World Cup
AAP
6:21pm Wed 11th September, 2013

Benji Marshall has ruled himself out of the rugby league World Cup in October ahead of his code swap to rugby union.

When former Kiwis captain Marshall signed a two-year Super Rugby contract with the Auckland-based Blues last month he remained in New Zealand's 38-man wider squad chosen ahead of the World Cup.

However, the Wests Tigers playnaker was not included in a 17-strong New Zealand train-on squad, made up of players from NRL teams who did not make the finals, which was named on Tuesday.

Convenor of selectors Tony Iro confirmed Marshall had told selectors he won't be available for the World Cup in France and England.

"We're naturally disappointed to not have Benji available for World Cup selection, but we understand the circumstances and wish him well," Iro said.

"He'll always be a Kiwi brother and he has done wonders not only for rugby league in New Zealand, but the game in general."

Iro said Marshall was a key part of the Kiwis team that won New Zealand's first ever Rugby League World Cup in 2008.

"He followed that up with a starring role, as captain, in our 2010 Four Nations win. He'll be missed, but we believe we have players in the halves that are ready to deliver in this World Cup tournament."

Marshall debuted for the Kiwis in the 2005 Anzac Test and played 27 Tests, including 19 as captain.

The 17 players named have been chosen from the eight clubs that won't feature in the NRL play-offs this year, with eight coming from the Warriors.

The national selectors - Richie Barnett, Ivan Cleary, Stephen Kearney, Tawera Nikau and Iro - will add to the squad in the coming weeks as teams are eliminated from the NRL finals.

A Kiwis squad of 24 for the World Cup will be named on October 8.

The squad has a warm-up game against the Cook Islands in Doncaster on October 20, before they open their World Cup defence on October 27 in Warrington against Samoa.

Kiwis train on squad: Alex Glenn, Josh Hoffman, Bronson Harrison, Jason Nightingale, Lewis Brown, Sam McKendry, Dean Whare, Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Kevin Locke, Simon Mannering, Ben Matulino, Sam Rapira, Elijah Taylor, Manu Vatuvei, Adam Blair, Tim Simona.

source: http://www.nrl.com/marshall-out-of-league-world-cup/tabid/10874/newsid/74610/default.aspx