Shaun Johnson recalled to Kiwis set-up

·2-min read

Shaun Johnson has earned a recall to the Kiwis set-up as part of an extended squad announced by head coach Michael Maguire ahead of the Rugby League World Cup.

Experienced playmaker Johnson was overlooked for the Pacific Test win over Tonga earlier this year due to indifferent form with the Warriors, with Maguire backing a new-look halves pairing of Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown.

The 32-cap international was part of a 34-man group announced by Maguire on Thursday, with the squad to be reduced prior to this year's World Cup in England.

Canberra's Brisbane-born centre Seb Kris, who qualifies through his mother, is a surprise call-up.

He joins fellow uncapped Raiders centre Matt Timoko as part of a six-man strong Canberra contingent headlined by in-form prop Joe Tapine, Corey Harawira-Naera, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Jordan Rapana.

Canterbury hooker Jeremy Marshall-King is in line for a maiden Test cap, while experienced internationals Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Kodi Nikorima also return to the set-up.

Centre Joey Manu is included after missing the Sydney Roosters' finals loss to South Sydney with a calf injury.

"We're excited about the depth of players available and the form they're in," Maguire said.

"The vast majority of them are in sides that made it into the finals which is a real positive as we look ahead to the tournament."

The Kiwis will play the Leeds Rhinos in a warm-up game at Headingley on October 8, when retiring former New Zealand captain Tommy Leuluai will play his final professional game.

New Zealand open their World Cup campaign in group games against Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland.

WIDER KIWIS SQUAD: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Dylan Brown, James Fisher-Harris, Kieran Foran, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Corey Harawira-Naera, Peta Hiku, Jahrome Hughes, Shaun Johnson, Seb Kris*, Moses Leota, Isaac Liu, Joseph Manu, Jeremy Marshall-King*, Te Maire Martin, Ken Maumalo, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Griffin Neame*, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Briton Nikora, Kodi Nikorima, Marata Niukore, Isaiah Papali'i, Jordan Rapana, Jordan Riki*, Bailey Simonsson*, Brandon Smith, Scott Sorensen*, Joe Tapine, Matt Timoko*, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.

(*Denotes uncapped)