Rugby League World Cup Preview: New Zealand

With one of the strongest sides in the competition and one of the main competitors of the Australian side – who are favourites – can New Zealand win another World Cup and continue their dominance?

Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles), Alex Glenn (Brisbane Broncos), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Josh Hoffman (Brisbane Broncos), Krisnan Inu (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Shaun Johnson (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Kasiano (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Thomas Leuluai (New Zealand Warriors), Kevin Locke (New Zealand Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Simon Mannering (New Zealand Warriors), Ben Matulino (New Zealand Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra Dragons), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Elijah Taylor (New Zealand Warriors), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei (New Zealand Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith Panthers), Sonny Bill Williams (Sydney Roosters)

On paper, this side has the potential to be downright phenomenal, scary, scintillating and absolutely on fire, all of the time. Of course, a side on paper is different to the reality but based on the seasons that these players have had, you would expect the New Zealand side to perform and perform well.

From the likes of the front-row with Jesse Bromwich, Ben Matulino and Sam Moa all in great form, to the back-rowers like Sonny Bill Williams and Elijah Taylor, their forwards are packed with skill, creativity, a hard-running style and the ability to affect games.

Their back-line is equally impressive with the likes of Krisnan Inu, Manu Vatuvei, Josh Hoffman and Shaun Johnson all key players for the Kiwis’ chances but each and every player in and around the side will want to make an impact when given a chance.

The side boasts some tremendous talent and some under-rated talent, with a mix of youngsters and veterans, all of whom are looking to make an impact in the World Cup.

With Samoa, France and Papua New Guinea in their group, the Kiwis are undoubtedly favourites to progress from their group and finish first, given the tremendous talent at their disposal.

All in all, they are a competition heavyweight and a side packed with some of the best of what the NRL has to offer and you wouldn’t discount them to go all the way. They can do it.

Here’s the side I’d go with:

1. Kevin Locke
2. Manu Vatuvei
3. Alex Glenn
4. Josh Hoffman
5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
6. Kieran Foran
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Issac Luke
10. Ben Matulino
11. Simon Mannering
12. Sonny Bill Williams
13. Frank Pritchard

14. Sam Moa
15. Frank-Paul Nuuausala
16. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
17. Elijah Taylor

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