Knee injury rules Wellens out of Tri-Nations decider

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Great Britain have ruled the St Helens full-back Paul Wellens out of Saturday's make-or-break Tri-Nations match with Australia.

Wellens took a knock to his knee towards the end of an outstanding performance against New Zealand last weekend andsuffered medial ligament damage.

"He will play no further part in the tournament," said the team's assistant coach Jon Sharp. "It's a blow to lose such an experienced player, especially when he has been playing so well."

Great Britain's options now centre on either moving Leon Pryce to full-back or asking Richard Horne to fill a position he has occasionally played for his club.

"I'd rather be at half-back, but I've played there a few times and could adapt to it," said Horne.

The squad's other doubtful starter, the wing Brian Carney, trained normally yesterday, without suffering any ill-effects from his suspect hamstring.

Horne has joined his Great Britain team-mate, Stuart Fielden, in playing down the intent of the tackle from Nigel Vagana that gave Paul Deacon serious facial injuries and ended his participation in the Tri-Nations.

The Bradford chairman Chris Caisley called Vagana's one-match ban "pathetic", but Horne said: "There didn't look much in it to me at the time. There was a bit of a swinging arm, but only he knows whether it was deliberate or not."

Stacey Jones is to come out of international retirement yet again to cover for the absence of Vagana in New Zealand's match against France in Toulouse tomorrow.

Leeds have signed the front-five forward Mark O'Neill, the former Wests-Tigers captain, on a one-year contract. O'Neill, 30, who played in the Sydney club's victorious NRL Grand Final in September, had been lined up by promoted Castleford.

"He's perhaps a player that some Super League fans may not know too much about, but he has built up a tremendous reputation over the past decade in Australia," said the Leeds coach, Tony Smith.

Wigan have extended Gareth Hock's contract until the end of the 2008 season. The back-row forward missed virtually all of last season with a knee injury.

The new Widnes coach, Steve McCormack, has recruited a second player from his former club Whitehaven - the Australian prop Aaron Summers.

Salford will find out today from theircity council whether they have permission to build a new 20,000-capacity stadium, costing £32m.

Comments