Radlinski's try shows the way

Great Britain 52 New Zealand A 18
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The Independent Online

Great Britain's only run out before the eagerly awaited series against Australia saw them produce a patchy performance at Headingly.

There were plenty of rough edges in attack and defence - and worrying injuries to Adrian Morley and Paul Wood - as they struggled at times against visitors who had the undoubted star of the night in their full-back, Lusi Sione, with all three of their tries. The touring New Zealanders have been a disappointment without a win going into last night's game. But they should have taken the lead after four minutes when Gavin Bailey's clever kick initiated an overlap which was only negated by a forward pass.

Great Britain got into gear when, after Barrie McDermott was stopped just short, Sean Long threw the ball wide for Kris Radlinski to celebrate his first experience of captaining his country by touching down.

Great Britain's play continued to stutter until Gareth Ellis took a pass from Ryan Hudson, sold a dummy and cruised over. They were still not looking secure in defence, however, and after 23 minutes Sione capitalised on good approach work for a New Zealand try.

That seemed to galvanise Great Britain briefly when Long and Lee Gilmour put Hudson over. The Kiwi part-timers continued to show defiance, with Sione getting his second try by chasing a well judged kick from Bailey.

A six-point lead with half-time approaching amounted to a poor British performance but they put a better gloss on it when Sione knocked on and from the scrum Long ran wide to release Keith Senior, with Long adding his fourth goal.

There were more hopeful signs at the start of the second half with Terry Newton's break setting up Paul Anderson. The Bradford forward had a strong impact, providing the pass that sent Kevin Sinfield over for the sixth British try.

Sione completed his hat-trick from another Bailey kick, but a move from deep through Sinfield and Long gave Radlinski his second. Senior's floating pass gave David Hodgson the next British try before Radlinski matched Sione with his own hat-trick, but the lack of fluency was a concern, along with the sight of Wood going off with a shoulder injury and Morley taking no part in the second half after suffering a dead leg.

GREAT BRITAIN: Radlinski (Wigan), Hodgson (Wigan), Horne (Hull), Senior (Leeds), Reardon (Bradford), Sinfield (Leeds), Long (St Helens), Fielden (Bradford), Hudson (Castleford), McDermott (Leeds), Morley (Sydney), Ellis (Wakefield), Gilmour (Bradford). Substitutes used: Newton (Wigan), Deacon (Bradford), Wood (Warrington), Anderson (Bradford).

New Zealand A: Sione, Apu'ula, Taumoli, Va'asa, Tupou, Bailey, Buckingham, Tuakura, Limmer, Faitala, Royal, Poka, Lauaki. Substitutes used: Edmondson, McDade, Mackie, Pau.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).