Young winger Valentine Holmes has opted to chase international honours with the Junior Kangaroos, withdrawing from a provisional Kiwis squad.
Cronulla Sharks wing Valentine Holmes has withdrawn from the Kiwis squad and is instead opting to chase international honours with the Junior Kangaroos.
Holmes was last week named in coach Stephen Kearney’s expanded training squad for next month’s Four Nations tournament in Australia.
Kearney on Tuesday named six more players for the extended squad, but said Holmes had withdrawn.
The Queensland under-20 outside back has been picked in the Junior Kangaroos train-on squad for a match against the Junior Kiwis on October 18.
An NRL rookie, the Townsville-born 19-year-old played in Cronulla’s last six games of the season.
NZRL football general manager Tony Iro earlier said Holmes had indicated he’d like to play for New Zealand, but the lure of playing State of Origin was strong.
“Obviously he is also getting pressure from the Australians in terms of their pathways.”
Josh Hoffman and Alex Glenn from the Brisbane Broncos have been added to Kearney’s Kiwis’ squad, joining Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris and brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich from the Melbourne Storm.
Their inclusion brings the squad to 26, with several more candidates still alive in the competition finals and yet to be named.
The final selections for next month’s Four Nations tournament will be made after the NRL grand final on October 5.
The Kiwis begin their campaign against Australia at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on October 25.
Kiwis squad: Gerard Beale, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Fa’amanu Brown, Sosaia Feki, David Fusitua, Alex Glenn, Tohu Harris, Siliva Havili, Josh Hoffman, Konrad Hurrell, Shaun Johnson, Ngani Laumape, Thomas Leuluai, Simon Mannering, Suaia Matagi, Ben Matulino, Matt McIlwrick, Jason Nightingale, Kevin Proctor, Sauaso Sue, Brad Takairangi, Martin Taupau, Bodene Thompson, Manu Vatuvei.