Shoulder injury may keep Wood out of first Test

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The Independent Online

Great Britain fear that they could lose the Warrington forward, Paul Wood, from their Test plans when he reports to training today.

Wood was the surprise inclusion in the squad to face Australia, but he was taken off with a painful shoulder injury in the warm-up game against New Zealand A.

"There was no evidence of any dislocation to Paul's shoulder, but it is the one on which he has previously undergone reconstructive surgery," said the Great Britain manager, Phil Clarke, who fears that there could be muscle damage.

Better news for the squad is that its captain, Andy Farrell, returns to full training today and that Paul Sculthorpe, who missed the Kiwi match with a calf injury, and Adrian Morley, who limped off after half an hour, should be fit for the first Test at Wigan on 8 November.

Lee Briers could be out for another six month after being told he needs corrective surgery on his broken wrist. Briers had already been ruled out of this Sunday's match against Australia. His coach at Warrington, Paul Cullen, believes protocols were not observed whilst Briers was in camp with the Welsh. Cullen wants an inquiry into his suspicions that the injury has worsened as a result of training with Wales.

The veteran Australian centre, Ryan Girdler, will wear the green and gold jumper for the first time in two years in the match at Bridgend.

The 31-year-old won back his place in the squad, thanks to his form in Penrith's Grand Final-winning run, after several other candidates pulled out. He has not been able to play on this tour because of a thigh injury. Also in the side are Shane Webcke, Anthony Minichiello and Phil Bailey.

The Halifax prop, Andy Hobson, has joined Widnes, but the hooker, John Lawless, has agreed to stay at The Shay for another year. The former Halifax forward, Richard Marshall, has left the London Broncos to sign for Leigh on a one-year deal.

Salford's centre, Stuart Littler, is to captain the National League One side against New Zealand A at Leigh on Sunday.

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