New Zealand may have to cope without Jones

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The Independent Online

The Kiwis have permission from Les Catalans, with whom he is to play in Super League next season, for Jones to play, but he has flown in with an unspecified fitness problem.

"He's here, but we've got to double-check him," said the New Zealand coach, Brian McClennan. "His French club have been outstanding and we're hopeful he'll be okay."

Clinton Toopi, who missed the second match against Australia after scoring a hat-trick in the first, is fit, but Lance Hohaia is out.

McClennan has copied Great Britain coach Brian Noble's cat-and-mouse tactics by delaying naming his team for Saturday's clash.

McClennan was due to unveil his line-up yesterday but will keep it under wraps until 24 hours before kick-off to avoid giving Britain an advantage. "We like to name it early for the public's sake but, if they're going to do that, we are, which is pretty poor," he said.

The former Kiwi scrum-half, Robbie Paul, has ended 11 years with Bradford by joining Huddersfield on a two-year contract. "This club has the potential to go all the way in Super League," he said. "If I felt this was a club standing still, I would not have come here."

The Bradford chairman, Chris Caisley, said that releasing Paul was a decision forced by the competition's salary cap. "He has been a superb ambassador for the Bulls," he said.

Eric Grothe has joined the select band of Australian players to follow in their fathers' footsteps by being selected to visit Britain.

The Parramatta winger has been added to their Tri-Nations squad in place of the injured Andrew Johns. His father, also Eric, toured with the unbeaten Kangaroos in 1982.

A disappointed Johns has admitted that he does not expect to play for Australia again after withdrawing from the tournament to have knee surgery.

Hull have surprisingly given Leeds permission to talk to their Great Britain forward, Paul King, about a move to Headingley. "We have had an approach from Leeds which came out of the blue and we have allowed Paul to talk to them," said the club's chief executive, David Plummer.

King played in Hull's victorious Challenge Cup final against Leeds, who need a top-line prop for next season following the retirement of Barrie McDermott.