Noble suffers Tri-Nations blow with Sculthorpe injury

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The Independent Online

A knee scan today is likely to confirm that Paul Sculthorpe will be not be fit to lead Great Britain in the Tri-Nations this autumn.

Sculthorpe left the field during St Helens' victory over Wakefield on Friday night with a recurrence of the injury that required major surgery last year, ruling him out of the 2005 tournament after he had first been appointed captain.

He led his country for the first time against New Zealand in June after recovering from an injury to his other knee and his withdrawal now would be a major blow to the Great Britain coach, Brian Noble, who has already lost Keiron Cunningham.

If Sculthorpe needs further knee surgery, as feared, Leeds' Jamie Peacock is likely to take over, as he did last year.

The former Great Britain coach David Waite is to end his consultancies with the Rugby League and the Catalans Dragons at the end of this season. Waite, who was in charge of the national side from 2001 to 2003, is returning to his native Australia. "I believe British rugby league is in great health and in position to succeed at the highest level," he said.

The Kiwi coach, Brian McClennan, has played down suggestions that he could take over at the Sydney Roosters - or even at St Helens, if Daniel Anderson takes the Roosters job.

Craig Stapleton and Nathan Merritt are the surprise inclusions in Australia's training squad for the Tri-Nations. Penrith prop Stapleton, and Merritt, the National Rugby League's leading try scorer this year playing with last-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs, are among players not involved in the play-offs who have been included.

Brett Kimmorley, Craig Wing and Luke Rooney are all left out of the party, which will be expanded as other clubs are knocked out.