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Soliola out of Kiwi World Cup squad

21/10/2008 06:02:07 PM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters centre Sia Soliola has been ruled out of New Zealand's rugby league World Cup campaign and replaced by Wests Tigers forward Bronson Harrison.

Soliola, 22, was forced to withdraw from the 24-man squad due to a shoulder injury.

Harrison, who made his Test debut in 2005, will join the squad in Sydney for the month-long World Cup tournament.

Soliola played for the All Golds against the New Zealand Maori on October 12 but wasn't selected for the Kiwis' Test against Tonga last Saturday.

He said he was shattered after results of a scan revealed he risked serious injury to his shoulder if he played in the World Cup.

"This is a huge blow for me. I was so excited being back in the team and having the chance of playing in the World Cup," he said.

"The toughest thing was telling the boys I had to pull out of the team but I'll do all I can to support them in this journey."

The loss of Soliola is another blow to the Kiwis after fullback Brent Webb and prop Jeff Lima were both ruled out of the original squad due to injury.

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney said Soliola's withdrawal was a significant setback.

"Sia was always a vital part of our squad and he contributed so much from the moment we came together as a group two weeks ago," he said.

"It's disappointing for all of us that he won't be a part of it but we're also pleased we can call on a player like Bronson to come into the side."

Soliola's Roosters team-mate Setaimata Sa is likely to get a starting spot in the centres when Kearney on Wednesday announces his team to play Australia in their World Cup opener on Sunday.

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