NZ 13 match part of World Cup preparations
A match for a New Zealand 13 with players not involved in the latter stages of next year's NRL play-offs will form part of the Kiwi build-up to defending the rugby league World Cup.
NZRL high performance manager Tony Kemp says the fixture is earmarked for October 5 and will be in New Zealand.
While the opposition hasn't been confirmed, one option would be a Pacific Islands side.
Kemp says the proposal is for the New Zealand 13 to have players from the 10 clubs that fail to progress beyond the NRL regular season or the first week of the play-offs.
It will give them game time before the Kiwis' opening World Cup match against Samoa in Warrington on October 27.
The NZRL is also looking at the possibility of a Test match against Australia on October 16 as a further preparation before both teams head off to England.
New Zealand's World Cup planning includes a camp in Sydney on January 25, which Kemp says will involve either a senior leadership group, an emerging players group or a full party of 30 players and staff.
The Kiwis stunned the Kangaroos 34-20 in Brisbane in 2008 to win the World Cup.
Kemp says both England and Australia will put more money and resources in their bids to lift the trophy than the NZRL can.
"Three big nations will be battling for the cup and we're one of them, but we're the poorest," he said.
"We have to spend a lot of time making sure we prepare well."
But Kemp is upbeat about the Kiwis' chances of retaining the cup.
"If you have a look at the average age of our players, they're going to be a lot better with another year under their belt," he said.
"I think when we hit the ground in the UK, we're going to have a team that can win the cup."