British camp refuses to let virus lower spirits

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The Independent Online

A virus is still disrupting Great Britain's Tri-Nations camp, but players are reluctant to be sent home from a squad enjoying the warm glow of Saturday's victory over New Zealand.

A virus is still disrupting Great Britain's Tri-Nations camp, but players are reluctant to be sent home from a squad enjoying the warm glow of Saturday's victory over New Zealand.

Their coach, Brian Noble, revealed yesterday that other players had joined Stuart Fielden and Andy Farrell in struggling to shake off the illness. "We've still got a bit of pestilence kicking around the place," Noble said. "We've been trying to send some players home, but they don't want to go."

One who has succumbed is the assistant coach, Jon Sharp, who has been ordered home to bed, but Farrell is adamant that he will be fit to face Australia at Wigan this Saturday, despite also taking a high tackle from the Kiwis' Nathan Cayless.

Australia will be without their prop, Jason Riles, at the JJB Stadium, because of a hamstring injury in training. The Kangaroos could reshuffle and bring back Craig Fitzgibbon after his shoulder injury, or could draft in the in-form front-rower, Mark O'Meley.

"I'd be stunned if O'Meley didn't come in," Noble said. "He carved up the opposition when he played for the Anzacs in Cumbria and we've all seen what he can do playing for Canterbury."

Wayne Bennett, the Australia coach who is expected to name his side today, could also be without Craig Gower with a persistent groin problem. The New Zealand scrum-half, Thomas Leuluai, is not expected to play again until next season after dislocating his shoulder against Great Britain.

Adrian Lam, who retired as a player at the end of the season, has joined Wigan's coaching staff. Lam will take charge of the club's Under-21 side, replacing David Lyon, and will assist Denis Betts with the first team. "Adrian's international experience will be invaluable to us, especially as there is still uncertainty over Mike Gregory," the club's chairman, Maurice Lindsay, said. Gregory, the club's head coach, has been off work sick since May.

The London Broncos have moved quickly to plug the gap left by Wigan's recruitment of Dennis Moran as Lam's successor at scrum-half. Wigan have paid an undisclosed transfer fee to sign Moran on a two-year contract and the Broncos have enlisted Mark McLinden from Canberra on a similar deal.

"Dennis has been our best player for the last two years and we know we have to replace him with someone as good, if not better" said London's chief executive, Nic Cartwright, who has also announced the signing of a second half-back, Luke Dorn, from Sydney City.

Castleford have signed the Scottish international hooker, Andrew Henderson, who played last season with Wests-Tigers.

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