Horne ready for crucial call-up against Kiwis

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The Independent Online

The Great Britain coach Brian Noble said that Horne would play some part in the game. "He will bring speed, a lot of line-breaking ability and a deft kicking game," he said. "He's a good rugby player and a threat."

Following Great Britain's failure to create enough opportunities from a generous amount of field position against Australia last Saturday, the chances are that Horne will take over one of the half-back positions. That would mean either Paul Deacon or Iestyn Harris - whose wife has yet to give birth to their child - stepping down. One thing Noble could confirm is that Horne will not be on the wing, where he won his last three caps against Australia in 2003.

The other change in the squad is that Leeds' Gareth Ellis comes in for St Helens' Lee Gilmour. "It was a tough decision," Noble said. "We're looking at a few tactical changes and a few people are missing out who, if you look at their statistics, might not miss out."

New Zealand, who only need to avoid defeat by more than 23 points to secure their place in their final, will name their squad today, but they have called up neither Stacey Jones nor Robbie Paul for their problem scrum-half position.

The Australian stand-off Trent Barrett has had a special insole fitted into his boot in Paris, in the hope that it will cure the foot injury that is keeping him out of this weekend's international against France.

Castleford have made their first signing since the appointment of Terry Matterson as their coach in Super League next season by agreeing a new contract with the former Hull forward Richard Marshall, who joined them midway through last season from Brisbane Easts.

St Helens have appointed the Australian Alan Wilson, whose playing career included Huddersfield and Bradford, as technical advisor. Saints' assistant coach, Dave Rotheram, recently left to take over at Whitehaven.

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