Luke admits diving in England defeat

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The Independent Online

New Zealand's Isaac Luke has admitted taking a dive for the crucial penalty in his side's win over England in the World Cup semi-final dress rehearsal last weekend.

The Kiwi hooker sparked English fury by going down under an innocuous challenge from Kevin Sinfield for the kick that broke the deadlock in Newcastle, with New Zealand going on to win 36-24.

"He just sort of nudged me, but to be honest I could have carried on running," Luke said. "Even my family have had a go at me for taking the dive."

His admission will come as scant comfort to the England coach, Tony Smith, who believes that his side have had a rough deal from Australian referees in all three of their pool games.

The referee for the semi-final in Brisbane will be named today, but Smith has already had talks with the tournament's director of referees, Mick Stone, over a number of areas of concern. Both sides are also expected to name their teams today, with the England full-back, Paul Wellens, making progress by playing a fuller part in training yesterday.

His St Helens team-mate, Ade Gardner, who was rested last week, will definitely play and believes that he is the man to stop Manu Vatuvei, nicknamed The Beast, who scored four tries in that game.

"He's a big, powerful unit, but it's all about putting as much pressure on him as possible," said Gardner. "You can't think too much about what he might do."

Vatuvei is the cousin of the former Bradford winger Lesley Vainikolo and is built on similar massive lines. "I tackled him in Super League and I'm looking forward to doing the same to big Manu," Gardner said.

Australia's Fijian-born prop, Petero Civoniceva, says there will be no divided loyalties when he lines up against his fellow-countrymen in Sunday's second semi-final in Sydney.

The Penrith front-rower was born in the islands, but has represented Australia only in internationals. "I'm still proud of my heritage, but I'm an Aussie through and through," he said.

The Queensland police have decided not to pursue sexual assault charges against two Brisbane Broncos players in the national squad, Karmichael Hunt and Darius Boyd.

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