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Last Updated: Monday, 25 August, 2003, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
Lomu left out of NZ squad
Jonah Lomu in action against England at Twickenham last year
England will not face their nemesis
All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu and record points scorer Andrew Mehrtens have both missed out on New Zealand's World Cup squad.

Lomu, scorer of more World Cup tries than any other player, ran out of time in his bid to prove his fitness and form after returning to action recently.

The 28-year-old has been undergoing dialysis treatment for a rare kidney ailment for several months and has barely played this year.

Mehrtens has also endured an injury-plagued season and did not take any part in New Zealand's triumphant Tri-Nations campaign.

Coach John Mitchell has predictably relied on the core 26 players who secured a second successive crown and regained the Bledisloe Cup.

We've gone through every likely scenario and we can't find a place for Andrew
John Mitchell
To that number he has added goalkicking full-back Ben Blair, centre Ma'a Nonu, scrum-half Byron Kelleher and number eight Rodney So'oialo.

Blindside flanker Reuben Thorne will lead the side, while two former captains - Anton Oliver and Taine Randell - and record try scorer Christian Cullen were other big names to miss out.

The only uncapped player in the squad is Canterbury's Corey Flynn, who took the third hooking spot behind Keven Mealamu and Mark Hammett.

Flynn has been recovering from a broken arm, but got the nod ahead of Tom Willis, Andrew Hore and Oliver.

"Corey played very well in Super 12 this year before breaking his forearm," Mitchell said. "I believe and we believe he is one of the most dynamic hookers in the country."

Favourites

There was also a recall for hard-running Auckland flanker Daniel Braid, who toured Britain and Europe with the All Blacks last year, but has not been used this season.

In the absence of Mehrtens, who accumulated 932 points in 66 Tests, the goalkicking duties will fall to Spencer, who has achieved a moderate 63% record this season.

"We've gone through every likely scenario that could occur and we can't find a place for Andrew," Mitchell said.

"We have Spencer, Aaron Mauger and Daniel Carter who cover first-five-eighths (fly-half) and we're very impressed with Carlos' goalkicking in the Tri-Nations."

The All Blacks, who will go into the World Cup as favourites, are in a group also featuring Wales, Canada, Italy and Tonga.


New Zealand squad:

Backs: Mils Muliaina, Leon MacDonald, Ben Blair, Doug Howlett, Tana Umaga, Daniel Carter, Ma'a Nonu, Caleb Ralph, Joe Rokocoko, Aaron Mauger, Carlos Spencer, Justin Marshall, Steve Devine, Byron Kelleher.

Forwards: Jerry Collins, Rodney So'oialo, Richard McCaw, Marty Holah, Daniel Braid, Reuben Thorne (captain), Chris Jack, Brad Thorn, Ali Williams, Kees Meeuws, Greg Somerville, Keven Mealamu, Mark Hammett, Corey Flynn, Dave Hewett, Carl Hoeft.



Links to more New Zealand stories


 

SEE ALSO
Lomu facing World Cup despair
20 Aug 03  |  Internationals
Lomu targets World Cup
10 Aug 03  |  Internationals
Lomu 'must forget World Cup'
09 Jul 03  |  Internationals
Lomu to take World Cup risk
04 Jun 03  |  Internationals


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