Benji Marshall doesn't fit - at the moment - with the new culture being created within the Kiwis.
That's the view of Kiwis selector Tawera Nikau, who said in the past "Benji was probably more about Benji and not the team".
The continued absence of the Dragon's five-eighth has been one of the major talking points in the buildup to the England tour. He has been in good form for St George and, without Shaun Johnson, Kieran Foran and Thomas Leuluai, is New Zealand's only experienced playmaker in the halves.
But Marshall has been unwanted and listening to Nikau it seems, no matter who was injured there probably wouldn't have been room for the former Golden Boot.
"We have invested and put time into the young guys and they have thrived," Nikau told Newstalk ZB. "They are starting to lead the culture. The likes of Johnson, [Issac] Luke, Jesse Bromwich, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Tohu Harris... there is a whole new regime of those young guys coming through who want to play at that top level, who are committed, and it's all about the team."
Nikau said that wasn't always the case in previous years.
"In the past, Benji was probably more about Benji and not the team. That is where we were looking as a selection panel," said Nikau. "There were a couple of other guys in that team - Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was one, Sonny-Bill Williams another. We made some tough decisions over the last couple of years and that's given us plenty to think about but, if you look where we have headed, it has made a huge impact."
It's a startling revelation, although not completely surprising. There were numerous issues at the 2013 World Cup, which prompted a New Zealand Rugby League review, and that squad was divided into obvious cliques, particularly the large Roosters contingent. There was no bad blood but it wasn't a united team.
Marshall wasn't involved in that campaign - he had already made his ill-fated switch to the Blues - but it was always going to be hard to rebuild the culture in the team with him as part of it. He had been a dominant presence for almost a decade and tended to overshadow the team, especially with his huge popularity among fans and media in Australia.
Nikau insists the door remains open. Marshall adopted a more selfless approach to his play this year and Nikau says there is no bad blood between Kearney and his former captain.
"I don't think it is a falling out. I think Stephen is too professional for that," said Nikau. "Stephen has spoken to Benji around why he wasn't selected for this tour. There is nothing personal. It's been the position of the selectors over the last couple of years. We have put time into the young guys and we are reaping the rewards. You have to give them opportunities."
The Kiwis suffered another blow yesterday with Jason Taumalolo pulling out of the tour, replaced by Tigers hooker Manaia Cherrington. Taumalolo was named in the team on Thursday, despite earlier speculation he may need knee surgery, but Kearney didn't seem convinced at the time, admitting he had been unable to contact Taumalolo.
"Jason has had a wonderful year, but holding him out of this tour will probably benefit him and us long term," Kearney said.
Cherrington looks a good prospect. The 21-year-old captained the Junior Kiwis to victory over the Junior Kangaroos last year and was named in the 2014 Holden Cup team of the year. He made his first-grade debut for Wests Tigers in June, eventually making 11 NRL appearances, and is seen as the long-term successor to Robbie Farah.