Great Britain keep faith with McGuire

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Danny McGuire will get the chance tomorrow to consolidate his Great Britain place at stand-off when he starts against Australia for the first time.

Coach Brian Noble named a 19-man squad for the Tri-Nations clash at Wigan, but, with Iestyn Harris too sick to be considered, he revealed that McGuire and Sean Long would continue their partnership at half-back after clicking in the second half against New Zealand last week.

"The half-backs will be the same," said Noble. "We feel there's a lot more to come from them, and from the whole team."

Noble stopped short of making a similar commitment that Terry Newton would keep his place as starting hooker.

There has been criticism of the Wigan man's form so far in the Tri-Nations - including some from Newton himself - but Noble said that much of it has been out of order.

"He's a much improved player on what he's shown in international football in the past," he said. "He was a bit down on himself after his game last week, but I think he was too hard on himself.

"The question you have to ask, is whether he has done anything not to be in the team." Noble has an alternative up his sleeve in Mickey Higham, one of two uncapped players in the 19, along with Sean O'Loughlin. Chev Walker is recalled after playing in the first game against Australia and being dropped against the Kiwis.

The final selection will depend on the progress of the flu virus through the camp. The team's captain, Andy Farrell, said that yesterday was the first time since catching the virus, that he had felt 100 per cent fit.

"Most people have had it for three days, but some have had it for longer," he said. "It's been unbelievable. I've never known anything like it."

New Zealand's Tri-Nations squad came within minutes of a shock defeat in France yesterday. The Kiwis trailed 14-20 with 10 minutes to play in Carcassonne, but scraped home 24-20 with tries from Ruben Wiki and Roy Asotasi.

Featherstone's French players, Maxime Greseque and Freddie Zitter, accounted for all but four of their points.

In domestic matters, Castleford have re-signed three of their players for their bid to get back into Super League at the first attempt.

Waine Pryce and John Hepworth have agreed to stay for another two years, while the veteran scrum-half, Brad Davis, has signed a further one year contract. Davis could also take on a coaching role, although that depends on the appointment of a new head coach, which is expected next week.

Warrington have paid their neighbours, St Helens, £22,500 for 17-year-old Great Britain Academy forward Andy Bracek, who made his Super League debut for the Saints at the end of last season.

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