Sculthorpe placed in isolation

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The Independent Online

Great Britain have put one of their key players, Paul Sculthorpe, into isolation from the rest of their squad as they build up for this Saturday's second Test.

The St Helens loose forward or stand-off has gone down with a virus and is being kept away from his team-mates in the hope that it will not spread and that he will be ready to take on Australia.

The Leeds centre, Gary Connolly, is confident that he will be fit after coming safely through a full-scale practice match against the England A side yesterday. "My knee feels fine and I should have no problems playing," Connolly said.

David Waite will name his side today, with a swap at scrum-half the most likely change to the line-up who came so close to beating the Kangaroos at Wigan, even with 12 men.

Saints' Sean Long has admitted to being below par in the first Test and has blamed an attack of nerves, saying that he is convinced he will perform better if given another chance.

It looks likely, however, that Waite will start with the stronger defence and goal-kicking credentials of Paul Deacon, with Long on the bench, and the Bradford scrum-half said yesterday that he is ready for the call, if it comes: "He is keeping it close to his chest," said Deacon of Waite's deliberations. "But, if you're on the bench, you want to get on to the pitch."

Australia are still worried about their scrum-half, Brett Kimmorley, and the wing, Shannon Hegarty. Hegarty's ankle is now considered a bigger problem than Kimmorley's thigh and North Queensland's Matt Sing is standing by.

Australia will wear black armbands on Saturday, in memory of former Test captain, Peter Gallagher, who has died after a long illness, as has Brian Cartwright, the Rugby League's long-serving groundsman.

Widnes, who have signed the Melbourne Storm centre, Aaron Moule, for next season, have denied that their Cumbrian forward, Ryan McDonald, is leaving them to join Leigh. Promoted Salford have completed the signing of their former player, Scott Naylor, who has been released by Bradford. Naylor will combine playing with a role on the coaching team.

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