The world of Rugby League.

rleague.com

Sonny Bill Williamshttp://c1.puntersparadise.net/news/photos/Sonny Bill Williams-1382753531_n.jpg

Sonny Bill is back in black

Sonny Bill Williams

Sonny Bill Williams will play his first rugby league international since 2008 in Sunday's World Cup opener against Samoa in Warrington.
Sonny Bill is back in black
by AAP

ST HELENS, Oct 25 AAP - Sonny Bill Williams will play his first rugby league international since 2008 in Sunday's World Cup opener against Samoa in Warrington.

Williams will partner Bulldogs enforcer Frank Pritchard in the second row, and coach Stephen Kearney says his presence will provide a real boost for the Kiwis.

"Sonny brings a sense of confidence to people around him," Kearney said.

"He puts his hand up and he delivers. He has such talent, but he understands that his main role is defence and he's got to get down and get dirty sometimes."

Roosters' teammates Sam Moa and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck are set to make their Kiwi test debuts, while Warriors skipper Simon Mannering will captain his country for the first time.

Kearney has a wealth of options in the outside backs, and says 20-year-old winger Tuivasa-Sheck has truly earned the No.2 jersey.

"It's a matter of giving Roger an opportunity.

"There's a real depth of talent on the wings, and I'm very mindful of making sure we're keeping everyone with their hands on the footy," he said.

"It's a great opportunity for Roger. He's going to have the rest of his Roosters boys in the group and that will certainly help him."

Manu Vatuvei, starting on the left wing, has also been given a chance to show he's still got the goods.

All five of the NRL premiership-winning Roosters are in the 17, with Moa set to earn his first cap as the third forward on the bench beside Sam Kasiano and Frank-Paul Nu'uausala.

"Seeing Sam close up in camp, and seeing how hard he works, you can see why he has achieved what he has," Kearney said.

Jesse Bromwich and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are the starting props, while Dean Whare and Bryson Goodwin have ousted Krisnan Inu in the centres and the youthful duo of Kieran Foran and Shaun Johnson team up in the halves.

"Bryson has had a wonderful year with South Sydney - and he played well when I brought him on in the second half last week," Kearney said.

"Dean has played very strongly in his two Tests for the Kiwis and he knows how to get the job done. But Krisnan will get another opportunity shortly."

Kearney has named no specialist backs on his bench, with new Penrith signing Elijah Taylor providing the only cover.

Thomas Leuluai is still battling a tight groin and won't be risked at this stage of the tournament.


Your thoughts?


You need to login or register to contribute here



Follow rleague.com on Facebook

Popular News Stories