Senior says Wing must be feared

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Great Britain's first-choice centre, Keith Senior, has refuted suggestions that Australia will be sub-standard in that department when the two sides meet in the first Test at Wigan on Saturday.

A freak run of injuries has deprived the Kangaroos of their seven leading candidates for the centres, leaving them with a pairing of Phil Bailey and Craig Wing - neither of them a specialist in the role.

"It was a bit of a shock," Senior said. "But they'll obviously still be great players who have come out here to do a job." Senior rates Matthew Gidley - one of the injury victims ruled out of the tour - as the best Australia centre he has faced, but he expects both Bailey and Wing to adapt.

"Bailey has played most of the season for Cronulla at centre, and Wing is a dangerous player wherever he plays," he said. "I'm certainly not expecting an easy ride."

Paul Sculthorpe was not able to take part in a full-scale training match against England A at Salford yesterday and a decision will be made on his recovery from a calf injury after today's session - the last before the Test.

"He's quietly confident that he's going to be ready to face a bit of a sterner test tomorrow," Great Britain's assistant coach, Graham Steadman, said. He described Sculthorpe - such a vital man to Great Britain's hopes - as a 70-30 proposition to be fit.

There is more confidence about the prospects of the captain, Andy Farrell, who is back in full training, and even Paul Wood, who has made what is described as "a miraculous recovery" from a shoulder injury.

Hull have agreed an undisclosed fee with Featherstone for their promising pair, the stand-off Richard Whiting, and the forward Andy Bailey.

"We have got a better deal than we would through the RFL's tribunal," Featherstone's director of rugby, Steve Lingard, said.

The Scotland coach, Billy McGinty, has kept faith with the players who lost their European Nations Cup match in Glasgow last Sunday against Ireland in the last minute for this Sunday's game against France in Narbonne, which they must win by six points to reach the final.

McGinty has retained the 17 from that defeat and added three uncapped players, Lee Kiddie of Whitehaven, James Bunyan of Rochdale and James Houston of Featherstone.

SCOTLAND (v France, Narbonne, Sunday): Arnold (Salford), Berry (Batley), Bunyan (Rochdale), Duffy (Leigh), Henderson (Barrow), Houston (Featherstone), Howieson (Sheffield), Kiddie (Whitehaven), Knox (Swinton), McConnell (Chorley), McDonald (Leeds, capt), Miller (Whitehaven), Morrison (Huddersfield), Penny (Warrington), Reed (Gateshead), Roach (Swinton), Solomon (Doncaster), Tunstall (Workington), Wilkes (Keighley).