Uncapped Raiders pair in Kiwis squad
Photo Source: AAP
The form of Canberra Raiders pair Jordan Rapana and Joseph Tapine has been rewarded with places in the Kiwis training squad for looming internationals.
The uncapped duo join North Queensland Cowboys joint Dally M Medal winner Jason Taumalolo in the wider group, after their clubs were eliminated from the NRL playoffs in last weekend's semi-finals.
Rapana has been one of the NRL's form wingers this season, scoring 23 tries and making 26 line-breaks, leading the competition in both categories.
A former New Zealand Maori representative, he has also played internationally for Cook Islands.
He made a strong case for Kiwis inclusion, benefiting from his destructive combination with centre Joey Leilua down the Raiders' right flank.
Tapine is a former Junior Kiwi, who transferred from Newcastle Knights to Canberra mid-season and immediately made an impact off the bench.
Wrecking ball forward Taumalolo debuted for the Kiwis during the 2014 Four Nations and last played for the national side against Australia in the loss in May.
Meanwhile, Wests Tigers centre Tim Simona and Brisbane Broncos second row Alex Glenn have dropped out of contention through injury.
Those changes bring the wider squad number to 32, with a squad of 24 to be finalised next week after Sunday's NRL Premiership final between the Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks.
The Kiwis play Australia in a Test in Perth on October 15 followed by the Four Nations tournament in England.
Kiwis train-on squad:
Adam Blair, Lewis Brown, Greg Eastwood, James Fisher-Harris, Addin Fonua-Blake, David Fusitu'a, Shaun Johnson, Jordan Kahu, Solomone Kata, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Lisone, Isaac Liu, Tuimoala Lolohea, Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Te Maire Martin, Suaia Matagi, Manu Ma'u, Sam Moa, Jason Nightingale, Jordan Rapana, Brad Takairangi, Joseph Tapine, Jason Taumalolo, Martin Taupau, Elijah Taylor, Jazz Tevaga, Bodene Thompson, Manu Vatuvei, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.