Tall Blacks finalise their 12-man squad for the upcoming World Cup

Author
Radio Sport, NZ Herald,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Thursday, 22 August 2019, 8:38PM
Corey Webster scored 33 points against Canada on Wednesday night. (Photo / Photosport)

The Tall Blacks have finalised their 12-man squad for the upcoming World Cup in China, with Tom Vodanovich and Taine Murray left out of the squad.

The young duo were part of the squad for a series of warm up matches, but after last night's 103-100 overtime loss to Canada were cut from the team as the roster was trimmed from 14 to 12.

The side will be led into the World Cup by a host of veterans including Tom Abercrombie and Corey Webster, the latter of whom almost lifted the Tall Blacks to an upset on Wednesday night.

Webster had 33 points in the side's second of two matches against Canada, leading a strong attack which bounced back in a big way after an poor outing the night before.

After being decimated by the Canadians the previous night, the Tall Blacks made amends in Sydney on Wednesday.

The Kiwi side were quick out of the blocks last night, holding a 10-point lead after the opening quarter. The Canadians were able to trim the gap to just three points at half time, before taking a one-point lead of their own into the fourth quarter.

Canada led by as many as eight points in the final quarter, however a spirited fight back from the Tall Blacks saw Webster convert on a three-point play to tie the game and send it to over time.

The Canadians were too good in the extra period and took a two-game sweep.

Tall Blacks coach Paul Henare was pleased with the return to a more typical Tall Blacks effort, based on energy, work rate and an up-tempo offence.

"That was a much better effort and playing at the required intensity at this level," he said. "That was really good to see the response, obviously we are still disappointed with the result, but knowing the way we can play against quality athleticism, length and what they were doing systematically, it was pleasing to see such a change in such a short turnaround.

"We have to keep reminding ourselves about how we do those things, through messages, conversations, watching video – it is a good reminder that we can play at that level. It is repeated messages about doing those same things over and over again."

The Tall Blacks fly out to China today and will play three more warm up matches before their World Cup opener against Brazil on September 1.

Tall Blacks World Cup squad
Guards: Tai Webster, Corey Webster, Shea Ili, Jarrod Kenny, Ethan Rusbatch
Forwards: Tom Abercrombie, Finn Delany, Jordan Ngatai, Isaac Fotu
Centres: Rob Loe, Alex Pledger, Tohi Smith-Milner