Nicholas knows Australia are not invincible

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The Independent Online

Mike Nicholas, the Welsh team manager, will be reminding his team between now and Sunday that it is possible for a side of no-hopers to beat the almighty Australians - as he was a member of the Warrington side that beat the Kangaroos on their 1978 tour.

Mike Nicholas, the Welsh team manager, will be reminding his team between now and Sunday that it is possible for a side of no-hopers to beat the almighty Australians - as he was a member of the Warrington side that beat the Kangaroos on their 1978 tour.

"We had no chance that night. It wasn't even a good Warrington side, it just proves that anything can happen," he said.

Clive Griffiths, the Welsh coach, will also be pursuing the theme of great sporting upsets as he prepares his side for a game nobody expects them to win. For their Lincoln Financial World Cup semi-final at Huddersfield, Griffiths has extra problems with groin injuries to two players, Paul Sterling and Dean Busby. Sterling is the more serious doubt, with Chris Smith on standby.

"He doesn't lack experience and he showed some very good touches when he came on against New Zealand," said Griffiths hopefully.

Those doubts mean that Griffiths will delay his team's selection until later in the week, but will definitely use both his temporary recruits from rugby union, Paul Moriarty and John Devereaux, once more.

He defended the decision to play them rather than the rugby league players in his squad, like Gareth Price and David Luckwell. "They are fit and available, but were mainly brought along for the experience," he said.

By contrast the Australian coach, Chris Anderson, has not only named his team but is looking ahead -- without any self-consciousness -- to the final.

For Sunday's game, his first choice winger and goal kicker, Mat Rogers, is rested and Andrews Johns is kept out by a slight calf strain. That means that Adam McDougall and Craig Gower will play, while Michael Vella starts at prop with Robbie Kearns on the bench.

"We don't lose a lot with the changes," said Anderson, who added that his choices for the final were down to 17 from 19 contenders. Not that there are taking this one lightly.

"A lot of the pressure is coming from the blokes who haven't been playing," the Australian captain, Brad Fittler, said.

"Our main motivation comes from wanting to play the best we can every week, no matter who it's against."

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