Rugby League World Cup: Australia name 13 uncapped players for title defence

Mon, Oct 3, 2022
By editor


Rugby League World Cup 2021
Hosts: England Dates: 15 October to 19 November
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Live commentary on Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; Live texts and highlights on BBC Sport website and app.

AUSTRALIA coach Mal Meninga has named 13 uncapped players in his squad as they chase a third men’s Rugby League World Cup title in a row.

The Kangaroos beat England in the 2017 final but have only played four Tests since with their last match a shock loss to Tonga three years ago.

Sydney Roosters full-back James Tedesco, who represented Italy at the last two World Cups, captains the side.

Australia start their campaign against Fiji in Leeds on Saturday 15 October.

They follow that with pool games against Scotland and Italy.

New Zealand have also selected their squad but have just one new face – Canberra centre Sebastian Kris.

Penrith Panthers trio James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota and Scott Sorensen, who were part of the team that won the NRL Grand Final, are joined by Dylan Brown, Isaiah Papali’i and Marata Niukore from the beaten Parramatta Eels.

“Selecting the squad for the World Cup was a real challenge given the quality of players in contention,” said Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire, whose side begin against Lebanon on 16 October before taking on Jamaica and Ireland.

“There were some tough calls to make but we’re excited about the group we’ve settled on.”

Tedesco, meanwhile, is looking forward to his role with the Kangaroos, having also captained the Roosters and New South Wales over the last two seasons.

“I don’t think there is a higher honour in the game and when Mal gave me the call, I was pretty speechless and proud of myself,” he said.

“I know it is a big task, but I am looking forward to it. I think running out as captain with the Australian jersey on is going to be a very proud moment.”

The squad features just five players who won the trophy five years ago – Melbourne half-back Cameron Munster, North Queensland centre Valentine Holmes, Manly forward Jake Trbojevic, St George Illawarra half-back Ben Hunt and Paramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

Penrith are represented by Isaah Yeo, Nathan Cleary and Liam Martin but there is no place for Dylan Edwards, who was player of the match in the season finale.

Edwards is one of three players on standby along with Cronulla half-back Nicho Hynes, who won the Dally M medal for the NRL player of the season.

Australia squad: Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels), Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos), Daly Cherry-Evans, Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Nathan Cleary, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers), Lindsay Collins, Angus Crichton, James Tedesco (c) (Sydney Roosters), Reuben Cotter, Valentine Holmes, Jeremiah Nanai, Murray Taulagi (North Queensland Cowboys), Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Gold Coast Titans), Campbell Graham, Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Harry Grant, Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm), Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders). Standby players: Dylan Edwards (Penrith Panthers), Nicho Hynes (Cronulla Sharks), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

New Zealand squad: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich, Jahrome Hughes, Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm), Dylan Brown, Marata Niukore, Isaiah Papali’i (Parramatta Eels) James Fisher-Harris, Moses Leota, Scott Sorensen (Penrith Panthers), Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Peta Hiku (North Queensland Cowboys), Sebastian Kris, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine (Canberra Raiders), Isaac Liu (Gold Coast Titans), Joseph Manu, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Jeremy Marshall-King (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Ronaldo Mulitalo, Briton Nikora (Cronulla Sharks), Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Warriors)

Culled from BBC SPORT