Newcomers in initial Kiwis train-on squad

Six uncapped players are among the first selections for the Kiwis rugby league train-on squad for the tour of England.

They include Warriors backs Tuimoala Lolohea and Solomone Kata, Parramatta second rower Manu Ma’u, and Wests Tigers back Tim Simona and hooker Manaia Cherrington.

Warriors second rower Bodene Thompson is also among the 15 players from the eight NRL teams that have missed out on the finals.

Thompson was part of the Kiwis’ Four Nations-winning squad last year, but did not take the field.

Missing are two of Thompson’s Warriors teammates, halfback Shaun Johnson and winger Manu Vatuvei, who are recovering from injuries that will sideline them for the rest of the year.

Penrith forward Elijah Taylor, who sat out the closing weeks of the regular season with a broken thumb, is in the initial group.

Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney says Taylor expects to have recovered by the start of the tour and has made himself available for selection.

As other teams exit the NRL finals, further players will be added to the train-on squad, which is expected to total around 40.

Train-on camps will begin in Auckland and Sydney on September 23, and the 23-strong party for the three-Test tour of England is scheduled to be named soon after the NRL grand final on October 4.

First train-on squad members: Lewis Brown (Penrith), Manaia Cherrington (Wests Tigers), Kieran Foran (Manly), Peta Hiku (Manly), Solomone Kata (Warriors), Tuimoala Lolohea (Warriors), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Manu Ma’u (Parramatta), Sam McKendry (Penrith), Tim Simona (Wests Tigers), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers), Elijah Taylor (Penrith), Bodene Thompson (Warriors), Dean Whare (Penrith).

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