The Great Britain coach, Brian Noble, is confident of having both Brian Carney and Stuart Fielden fit for their opening Tri-Nations match in Christchurch on Saturday.
Both players sat out the second half of the warm-up victory in Newcastle last Friday with knee injuries, but Noble expects both to face the Kiwis. "At this stage, we're hopeful that it's nothing too serious and we'll be picking from strength," he said. "Stuart just felt a bump on the knee, but he'll be able to train fully this week. It's also looking good that Brian will be cleared to return to training." Terry Newton will also be available after being left out of the Newcastle game to rest a sore hip.
New Zealand will be forced to reshuffle their back-line on Saturday, with Bradford's Shontayne Hape ruled out with a knee injury. That is likely to mean a recall for Tame Tupou, dropped for Hape for the last Saturday's game against Australia. With Steve Matai also doubtful with a shoulder injury, Simon Mannering is in line for a switch to the centres with Hull's Motu Tony coming into the 17.
Only 6,000 tickets had been sold for the match at Jade Stadium by last weekend, with the New Zealand Rugby League blaming the Lions for not doing their share to promote the fixture. Great Britain are operating from a base in Sydney and will not fly into Christchurch until Thursday.
The Warrington full-back, Stuart Reardon, has stayed on in Australia in case of emergencies. Reardon is not officially part of the 25-man squad, but will continue to train with them.
Ben Westwood and David Hodgson, jettisoned from Great Britain's plans, will link up with the England camp after returning from Australia yesterday. Warrington back-row forward Westwood and Salford winger Hodgson were among those released by Noble following Friday's warm-up win.
Bradford have agreed to let their young forward, Brett Ferres, go to Wakefield in part-exchange for David Solomona. Solomona has requested a release from the remaining two years of his contract and Wakefield have negotiated a six-figure fee, plus the versatile 20-year-old Ferres, who has played in three different positions in the pack this year and is the nephew of the Wakefield chief executive, Steve Ferres.Reuse content