New Zealand accused of double standards over Morley comments

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The Independent Online

There has been a furious British response to New Zealand's complaints about Adrian Morley escaping suspension from this Saturday's first Test. Morley was placed on report for a high tackle during the Northern Union's match against the All Golds last weekend but later told he had no case to answer.

The NZRL's chairman, Andrew Chalmers, called that decision "disgraceful," but the RFL's chief executive hit back forcefully yesterday.

"We believe the comments from the New Zealand camp are completely inappropriate and unwarranted," said Nigel Wood, who also accused Chalmers of "double standards" for his silence on various Kiwi excesses. The row is all the more startling because the two administrators are close allies.

The Great Britain assistant coach, Steve McNamara, said however that the irritation extended to the players. "The lads are angry at what the Kiwis have come out with and have all rallied around Mozza," he said, predicting that the controversy would make the forward battle more fiery than ever.

Both the 18-year-old Bradford prop, Sam Burgess, and the Samoan, Maurie Fa'asavalu, have been included in the 20-man squad for the Test at Huddersfield.

The Kiwis have gone further and named their 17, including two debutants, the Sydney Roosters' full-back, Sam Perrett, and the New Zealand Warriors' forward, Epalahame Lauaki, who will start on the bench. Wigan's Thomas Leuluai is paired with Lance Hohaia in a new half-back combination.

Steve McCormack, who resigned as coach of Widnes this week, has joined Hull KR as assistant to Justin Morgan. McCormack has signed a two-year deal.

The club has signed the second-rower, Garret Crossman, from Melbourne on a two-year contract, whilst the centre, Jon Goddard, has moved on from Rovers to Halifax.