Australian takes on Wales role

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The Independent Online

The Celtic Crusaders' coach, John Dixon, has taken on the extra role as head coach of Wales, starting with a World Cup warm-up for England in October.

The Australian-born Dixon succeeds Martin Hall, who was in charge of the Welsh side that was knocked out of the World Cup qualifiers by Scotland last year.

Dixon will be assisted by Bradford's dual code international, Iestyn Harris, and the Hull KR coach, Justin Morgan, another Welsh Rugby League cap.

Harris has been linked with a possible move to the Cruaders, should they be awarded a Super League licence next month.

The new regime's first duty will be in the international against England at Doncaster on 10 October, which will be England's last match before leaving for the World Cup in Australia.

In the longer term, part of Dixon's brief is to identify Welsh talents to take over a national team still bitterly disappointed not to be involved in the tournament.

Leeds' New Zealand Test centre, Clinton Toopi, hopes to be back in action early next month after a dislocated shoulder which it was feared would rule him out for the season.

Toopi has recovered faster than anticipated and had even hoped to be ready for next weekend.

"I was aiming for the Castleford match next week, but that looks like it might be a long shot," he said.

"Now I'm hoping that three weeks will be it at the most."

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