SBW missing from NZ rugby league squad

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    Sonny Bill Williams is a notable omission from the rugby league squad that New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney has picked to defend the World Cup in Europe.

    Kearney says the second-rower is unavailable “due to other commitments”.

    Kearney doesn’t know what those other commitments are.

    Williams, who has been tipped to return to rugby union with the Chiefs, said after helping the Sydney Roosters to the NRL premiership on Sunday that he would take a couple of weeks to decide his footballing future.

    The 24-man New Zealand squad contains two uncapped players in two other Roosters – Dally M winger of the year Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and prop Sam Moa.

    Apart from Williams, Kearney said other players out of selection reckoning were Newcastle back-rower Jeremy Smith and Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall.

    Smith, who played in 2008 World Cup final win over Australia, is unavailable for family reasons.

    Kenny-Dowall is out because of injury after playing most of the grand final with a broken jaw.

    Kearney and the squad will gather in Sydney on Saturday before flying out for Britain.

    The Kiwis have a warm-up fixture against the Cook Islands in Liverpool on October 21 (AEDT), before beginning their cup defence against Samoa in Warrington seven days later.

    Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne), Greg Eastwood (Canterbury), Kieran Foran (Manly), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney), Tohu Harris (Melbourne), Joss Hoffman (Brisbane), Krisnan Inu (Canterbury), Shaun Johnson (Warriors), Sam Kasiano (Canterbury), Thomas Leuluai (Warriors), Kevin Locke (Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra), Frank-Paul Nu’uausala (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Canterbury), Elijah Taylor (Warriors), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei (Warriors), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), Dean Whare (Penrith).

    © AAP 2017

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