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Vatuvei to miss World Cup semi-final

Bullocking wing Manu Vatuvei has been ruled out of New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup semi-final against England at Wembley while Frank Pritchard remains in doubt.
Vatuvei to miss World Cup semi-final
by AAP

LONDON, Nov 21 AAP - Bullocking wing Manu Vatuvei has been ruled out of New Zealand's Rugby League World Cup semi-final against England at Wembley while Frank Pritchard remains in doubt.

Vatuvei lost his race to get over his groin injury, with coach Stephen Kearney confirming Jason Nightingale will take his place in the side.

"Manu hasn't run at all this week, there was a chance that he could've been right for Saturday, but we would've had to wait right up until the last minute.

"With what's at stake, I wanted to give Jason Nightingale a full week's preparation on the wing, so he could get his mind around playing," Kearney said.

Pritchard has been bracketed alongside Alex Glenn in the starting side while he battles a hamstring strain.

"We're hopeful, but we'll have to see how pulls up over the next couple of days," Kearney said.

Kevin Locke has been retained over Josh Hoffman at fullback in one of the more hotly contested spots in the side.

"I thought Kevin had a really good match last week. For this game, I thought this was the best choice for the group. He deserved the opportunity," Kearney said.

Sam Kasiano will start from the bench, joining fellow props Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jesse Bromwich and Ben Matulino in the side, with Sam Moa missing out.

"Sam Kasiano offers something a little bit different to the other front rowers. He has got a lovely touch with the hands and he's a big guy who can put a real hole in your defensive line if you're not ready for him."

England has also named its side, with New Zealand-born Rangi Chase the shock omission.

Chase has been replaced by former Melbourne Storm and now St George Illawarra half Gareth Widdop.

Squad: Kevin Locke, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Bryson Goodwin, Jason Nightingale, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Issac Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Frank Pritchard, Sonny Bill Williams, Simon Mannering (capt), Frank-Paul Nu'uausala, Sam Kasiano, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Sam Moa, Alex Glenn.


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