Briers set to make British debut

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The Independent Online

The Great Britain coach, David Waite, is set to give Warrington's Lee Briers his first cap at this level in his side's problem position of scrum-half.

Briers, who has played stand-off for Wales with considerable success, was named yesterday in the 20-man squad for the Test against France in Agen on Friday. Waite will not reveal his starting team until later in the week, but Briers looks likely to be given the No 7 role, in preference to Hull's Richard Horne and Paul Deacon of Bradford.

Waite has already ruled four of his side out of contention for the match which is Great Britain's only warm-up before the Australians arrive for their three-Test series next month.

The Bradford winger Leon Pryce and the Wigan hooker Terry Newton are both nursing injuries from the Super League Grand Final and cannot be considered while Adrian Morley still has to prove to his Aus-tralian club, Sydney City, that his arm has healed sufficiently for him to play. Another key man for Great Britain, St Helens' Paul Sculthorpe, cannot play because of a hamstring problem.

Waite said: "This match is a serious international encounter but beyond being a competitive exercise we will also get the chance to see how certain things work out. We will be watching our progress at half-back and hooker and will have a better idea of where we are after the match against the French."

Australia have ruled out the Penrith utility player Craig Gower after deciding that his knee injury had not improved sufficiently. The selectors have not decided whether to bring Brett Kimmorley as a replacement for Gower, who provided them with cover at both hooker and half-back.