Lauiti'iti to miss Tri-Nations match against Australia

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The Independent Online

The Leeds second-rower, New Zealand's Ali Lauiti'iti, has been given permission to miss the Tri-Nations match against Australia at Loftus Road on Saturday so he can visit relatives in America.

The Leeds second-rower, New Zealand's Ali Lauiti'iti, has been given permission to miss the Tri-Nations match against Australia at Loftus Road on Saturday so he can visit relatives in America.

Lauiti'iti could have been drafted into the Kiwi pack, in the absence of the Penrith pair, Tony Puletua and Joe Galuvao, who faced Australia in Auckland last Saturday.

Lauiti'iti will return to prepare for the game against Great Britain on 6 November. The Kiwis could be forced to switch the experienced Ruben Wiki to the back row and give a start to David Kidwell or Roy Asotasi.

The Bradford quartet of Robbie Paul, Lesley Vainikolo, Shontayne Hape and Logan Swann, joined the New Zealand squad in London and trained with them for the first time yesterday. Their coach, Daniel Anderson, is expected to name his team today.

Australia have added the Sydney Roosters' goal-kicking back-rower Craig Fitzgibbon and Shaun Timmins to their squad for the Loftus Road game, which will be refereed by Britain's Russell Smith and which is heading for a 16,000 full house.

Leeds' Richard Mathers has dropped out of England's squad for the European Nations Cup game against Russia in Moscow on Sunday due to a wrist injury. He is replaced by the Huddersfield full-back Paul Reilly.

Castleford have made their first signing since their relegation from Super League. The Wakefield half-back or hooker, Paul Handforth, 23, has joined them on a two-year contract. The young half-back Dominic Brambani has agreed to stay with Cas, who expect to announce further signings soon.

Halifax have signed the half-back Dean Lawford and the second-rower Andrew Spink from Batley.

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