Twenty-two players to get Super 14 rest 12 September 2006 All Blacks management has confirmed the 22 players to undertake a conditioning programme early next year, a move that coach Graham Henry argues is critical to the welfare of this country's leading players. "Many of our best athletes have played several years of continuous rugby without a chance to really get their bodies right," Henry said in a statement tonight. "The conditioning programme is important for their well being in the long term and also important to our chances of winning the World Cup." Henry's move to rest players for seven weeks during the Super 14 in 2007 has sparked fierce debate and led to the competition's financial backer, News Ltd, signalling it will seek compensation. News Ltd signed a $660 million contracted with the Sanzar unions – South Africa, New Zealand and Australia – in 2004. New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chairman Jock Hobbs travelled to Sydney last week to placate the broadcaster, and both parties will return to the negotiating table to avoid the prospect of litigation. Henry's plan to condition 22 World Cup contenders during the Super 14 angered News Ltd, who claimed it had not been advised of the NZRU's plan. Henry emphasised that participation in the conditioning programme did not guarantee a place in the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup squad next year. "We have included 22 of our leading players in the conditioning programme, but there are no guarantees. "There is a long way to go before we name the World Cup squad and a large group of players are pushing for selection. The door is definitely open." The players have been named now to allow Super 14 franchises time to plan their campaigns and identify players who will join their squads while the All Blacks take part in their conditioning programme next year. Henry noted that the group of 14 forwards and eight backs would not change in the event of injuries during the domestic Air New Zealand Cup or the All Blacks' tour of Europe in November. Prop Greg Somerville has been named in the conditioning group, even though a long-term injury will see him sidelined for an estimated six months anyway. He tore his achilles during the Tri-Nations test against South Africa in Pretoria Players selected for the conditioning programme:- Forwards: Jerry Collins (Wellington), Jason Eaton (Taranaki), Carl Hayman (Otago), Andrew Hore (Taranaki), Chris Jack (Tasman), Richie McCaw (Canterbury), Chris Masoe (Wellington), Keven Mealamu (Auckland), Anton Oliver (Otago), Greg Somerville (Canterbury), Rodney So'oialo (Wellington), Reuben Thorne (Canterbury), Ali Williams (Auckland), Tony Woodcock (North Harbour). Backs: Dan Carter (Canterbury), Byron Kelleher (Waikato), Leon MacDonald (Canterbury), Aaron Mauger (Canterbury), Mils Muliaina (Waikato), Joe Rokocoko (Auckland), Sitiveni Sivivatu (Waikato), Piri Weepu (Wellington). Taken from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3793996a1823,00.html Go Auckland Blues!