Sonny Bill Williams has been named to play his first game for the Kiwis in five years and will start in the second-row in Monday morning's Rugby League World Cup opener against Samoa.
Fellow Roosters star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will make his debut in the same match after being named on one of the wings, while Sam Moa will earn his first cap coming off the bench in Warrington.
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney says the team picked for this game wasn't necessarily his best, but that there were two factors involved in selection.
The first was to name a team that could handle the physical challenge Samoa is sure to bring and the other was to give the players from the Roosters, who all sat out last weekend's warm-up game against the Cook Islands in Doncaster, a run.
"The warm-up game served a real purpose but I see this as a real red flag in terms of what Samoa are going to present," Kearney said. "It was important to pick a side that I thought was going to best serve the purpose of this particular match.
"That doesn't mean this is going to be the team that best serves us when we get into the latter part of the tournament, but for this game it's the best team.
"We have been in camp now for over a week and I could see the energy that the Roosters boys have brought to the group and it was important to use that momentum in the selection process and that means there are a couple of new caps in an important game."
Manu Vatuvei is named as the other winger in this team, meaning that the ever reliable Jason Nightingale misses out. However, Kearney was quick to point out that he doesn't necessarily see Nightingale behind Vatuvei and Tuivasa-Sheck in the pecking order.
"I'm mindful of what Jason Nightingale has done for New Zealand before and he's never let the jumper down.
"It's a matter of giving Roger an opportunity. What we have in our favour, previous to the last two times we've travelled to the UK, is that there is a real depth of talent.
"It's not a form issue that's dictated selection, it's what I think is best for the team this week.
"From a talent point of view, the whole 24 will play a role in this tournament. I know that whoever we pick, they're going to do a job for us, but it's a matter of as the tournament ticks over, who's doing it the best, because they're the guys who'll nail down spots."
But it will be Williams who'll get the most attention on Monday as he plays his eighth test for the Kiwis and is still in search of his first win with them.
Kearney said he's not just looking for those magical offloads from Williams at this World Cup; he believes he has other contributions to make.
"It is quite obvious the talent he has, but he brings more than that," Kearney said. "He brings a sense of confidence to the people around him, but in saying that, he puts his hand up and he delivers. He understands what his role is and what he's got to do and he does that to the best of his ability.
"From a defensive point of view, it's the 1 per cent plays. Everyone wants the razzmatazz from Sonny, but he understands that sometimes it's not about those plays."
KIWIS: Josh Hoffman, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Dean Whare, Bryson Goodwin, Manu Vatuvei, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Issac Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Frank Pritchard, Sonny Bill Williams, Simon Mannering. Interchange (from) Elijah Taylor, Sam Kasiano, Sam Moa, Frank-Paul Nu'uausala, Greg Eastwood, Ben Matulino.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Who do you think will win the Rugby League World Cup?