Long's departure hands scrum-half role to Horne

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The Independent Online

The responsibility Sean Long has cast aside will be divided between Richard Horne and Danny McGuire as Great Britain try to keep their Tri-Nations tour alive here on Saturday.

Horne's previous eight Test appearances have largely been as a substitute or emergency winger, but Long's walkout gives himan opportunity to fill the scrum-half position he occupies at Hull.

"It will be good to be playing the position I've been playing all year," Horne said. "I'm really looking forward to it. I've had a bit of a rest since the Grand Final and I'm fit and ready to go."

Horne is not disconcerted by the circumstances of his call-up, which came after Long decided to go home for "personal reasons," which the Great Britain camp said had nothing to do with alleged drunken behaviour on the squad's flight from Wellington to Sydney.

"Opportunities come up," he said. "These things happen on tour and when it did Rob Burrow and I knew we were in with a chance. I got the nod and I'm really chuffed."

The Great Britain coach Brian Noble described Burrow, the Leeds scrum-half, as an exemplary tourist and said that he was unlucky not to get a game, although he is listed as one of seven possible substitutes. Assuming he does not play, he will go home, like Martin Aspinwall, Andy Coley and Paul Wood , without playing a competitive game on tour - one of the faults of the current international format that allows little scope for midweek matches.

No one will quite have the same pressure on them at the Suncorp Stadium as McGuire, who will not only be expected to take on many of Long's organisational duties but also goal-kicking responsibilities. McGuire last kicked regularly in Leeds' Academy side. "We've lost our No 1 goal-kicker and we've got to find our No 2," Noble said.

Noble was full of praise for Martin Gleeson's attitude in training since he was dropped after the defeat by New Zealand in Christchurch. Gleeson is back in the Test team, at the expense of Kirk Yeaman, after the centre struggled in defence in Wellington.

"In Martin Gleeson you're talking about a proud man and a man with an established international record," Noble said. "He's done all he can to get back in."

The other change is the return of Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin at loose forward after missing the Wellington Test with a calf injury.

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