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The NZRL Selectors and coach Daniel Anderson have announced the following 17-man squad to play the Kangaroos at North Harbour Stadium on October 16 in the opening match of the Gillette Tri-Nations:
1. Brent Webb - Warriors 2. Francis Meli - Warriors 3. Nigel Vagana - Sharks 4. Paul Whatuira - Panthers 5. Matt Utai - Bulldogs 6. Vinnie Anderson - Warriors 7. Thomas Leuluai - Warriors 8. Jason Cayless - Roosters 9. Louis Anderson - Warriors 10. Ruben Wiki (C) - Raiders 11. Tony Puletua - Panthers 12. Joe Galuvao - Panthers 13. Sonny-Bill Williams - Bulldogs 14. Motu Tony - Caslteford 15. Roy Asotasi - Bulldogs 16. Nathan Cayless - Eels 17. David Kidwell - Storm
Paul Rauhihi - Cowboys, Jamaal Lolesi - Bulldogs, Clinton Toopi - Warriors, Dene Halatau - Tigers, Wairangi Koopu - Warriors, will also be brought into the Kiwi's camp in Auckland.
The team, again captained by hardman Ruben Wiki will certainly not lack enthusiasm with three newcomers Brent Webb, Louis Anderson and Roy Asotasi and two brother pairings in the Cayless and the Anderson boys.
While the rehabilitation time required for Matt Utai's ankle surgery has ruled him out of the UK leg of the tournament, he is named in the team for 16 October subject to Bulldogs medical staff securing a surgery date soon after the Auckland Test.
A medial knee ligament strain has ruled Paul Rauhihi out for the first Kangaroo Test but is expected to be ready in time for the remainder of the tournament.