EXPECT a big game from Giants centre Paul Whatuira at Hull tomorrow!
That would seem a distinct possibility after he failed to be named in New Zealand’s 49-man squad for this autumn’s World Cup in Australia.
That’s clearly something of a snub for the 27-year-old three-quarter, who has 16 Test caps to his name.
Whatuira was one of New Zealand’s most consistent performers in last autumn’s Test series defeat to Great Britain.
And even though the Giants have struggled in Super League this season, Whatuira has produced some quality displays.
But that appears to have counted for nothing, with Leeds full-back Brent Webb and Wigan scrum-half Thomas Leuluai the only England-based players named in the Kiwi’s provisional World Cup squad, and no doubt Whatuira will be keen to prove a point for the rest of the season, starting at the KC Stadium tomorrow.
The New Zealand squad also includes Canterbury Bulldogs loose forward Sonny Bill Williams, despite his defection to rugby union, and Frazer Anderson, younger brother of Warrington internationals Vinnie and Louis.
All three brothers have also been named in Tonga’s squad but the Kiwis have first call. Frazer Anderson is one of 16 uncapped players.
Meanwhile, a Supreme Court judge in Australia has ruled Williams has been adequately served with court papers as his former club fights desperately to halt his code switch. World Cup tournament director Colin Love said the 23-year-old Williams would not be allowed to play in the event if he were to breach his Bulldogs contract by playing rugby union for French club Toulon.
The Kiwis will take on defending champions Australia at the Sydney Football Stadium on October 26 following the opening ceremony.
"We feel we have covered all options at this stage but the door certainly isn’t closed to players who haven’t been included," said coach Stephen Kearney.
"There’s still a lot of football to be played both in the NRL and in the Super League.
"We’ll be watching the players we have named and we’ll also be keeping an eye on others not in this squad."
Whatuira will have taken