England fury at 'dirty tricks' ahead of Kiwi showdown
Saturday 15 November 2008
This World Cup gets worse for England who have been accused of failing to do enough to promote today's semi-final against New Zealand here. "It's the semi-final of the World Cup and we all have a duty to do the best for the game," said the Kiwis' coach Stephen Kearney at his final press conference before the game.
The England coach, Tony Smith, has been unavailable since Tuesday and looked likely to remain that way right up to kick-off as rumours of a possible link-up with his old club Parramatta swirled round the English camp. The belief from within is that the story in the Sydney press might be part of a "dirty tricks" campaign.
"This smacks of disruption," said a spokesman, although why anyone would feel the need to derail England's preparations when they are doing such a good job themselves, is a moot point. As far as on-field matters are concerned, the Leeds winger or full-back, Lee Smith, did not train on the eve of the game, but Paul Wellens, Leon Pryce and Danny McGuire, who have been injury doubts, all took a full part in the session. England, according to their vice-captain Adrian Morley, are to stand and face New Zealand's haka rather than going into a huddle and ignoring it, as they did before the defeat a week ago.
Australia report a clean bill of health for their semi-final against Fiji, the surprise team of the tournament, in Sydney tomorrow. Fiji will field two players with Super League experience, with Bradford's Semi Tadulala on the left wing and the former Harlequins centre Nick Bradley-Qalilawa on the bench.
The game's leading coach and most influential voice Wayne Bennett says the World Cup is already a guaranteed success, regardless of what happens in the semi-final between England and New Zealand today. The Australian, who is assisting the Kiwis, believes it is part of a healthy improvement in the code's international dimension. "We have to stop listening to people who say the World Cup isn't working," he said. "It is working. The crowds are good, the football has been great and it's going to make a dollar."
Latest in Sport
Phil Neville and his fellow Match of the Day pundits given warning by the BBC after 'smash them' comment
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer news LIVE: Manchester United to make £37m Mats Hummels bid; Inter plan Yaya Toure move; Shola Ameobi joins Crystal Palace
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Mario Balotelli's agent speaks as Brendan Rodgers swoops for German duo
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berdych - LIVE! Australian Open semi-final latest as Murray wins after losing first set
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures