Gareth Thomas may miss Four Nations


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Wales iconic player, Gareth Thomas, is in danger of missing the Four Nations after pulling out of the warm-up against Ireland for personal reasons.

“Gareth has some family problems that he needs to resolve,” said the Welsh coach Iestyn Harris, who said that a decision on his availability would be made today.

“We will make an announcement on whether or not he will be considered,” he said.

Thomas, the former Wales RU captain and record cap-holder, is due to be confirmed as a new Wigan signing.

Wales’ demanding programme starts with a match against England at the Leigh Sports Village on Saturday, followed by New Zealand at Wembley and Australia at Wrexham.

The Welsh captain, Lee Briers, will definitely play at Leigh, despite missing the Ireland game.

“He wanted to play, but he’s had a long, hard season,” said Harris. “He needed a bit of a gap to get over the emotional let-down of the way Warrington’s season ended.

“There were less experienced guys who needed some game-time.”

England’s Steve McNamara will name his side tomorrow, after his squad came through their warm-up game in France without major problems. Sam Tomkins, who was taken off in the second half as a precaution, is described as fully fit.

The Australian coach, Tim Sheens, is likely to give Greg Inglis an extra week to get fit, leaving him out of the game against New Zealand at Warrington on Friday, to make sure that he will be ready to face England at Wembley the following weekend. That means that Willie Tonga and Chris Lawrence are the likely Australian centre partnership against the Kiwis.

The Kangaroos hammered New Zealand 40-6 little more than a week ago, but Sheens believes that the party will have benefited from all watching Sunday’s Premier League derby on TV at their Manchester base.

“It was a useful reminder that anything can happen in sport,” he said.

The USA have qualified for the 2013 World Cup by beating Jamaica 40-4 in New Jersey.

Leeds have welcomed the decision that their World Club Challenge against Manly will be played in England next February, despite alternative suggestions that it might be played in Australia or Dubai.

Swinton have signed Leigh’s Adam Higson, whilst the former Castleford, Salford and Wakefield prop, Michael Korkidas, has joined Keighley.