Sinfield is biggest omission as Noble names Tri-Nations squad

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The Independent Online

Kevin Sinfield, who captained Leeds to victory in the Super League Grand Final against Bradford on Saturday, is the notable omission from a Great Britain Tri-Nations squad that includes six of his Rhinos team-mates.

Kevin Sinfield, who captained Leeds to victory in the Super League Grand Final against Bradford on Saturday, is the notable omission from a Great Britain Tri-Nations squad that includes six of his Rhinos team-mates.

Sinfield, who played in two of last autumn's Ashes Tests, has failed to make Brian Noble's 24-man party which flies to Spain for a training camp today, along with Bradford's Paul Deacon, who played in all three of the matches against Australia.

"Kevin was extremely close," said Noble. "I've spoken to him and Paul Deacon. It's important for them to understand they haven't just been thrown out."

Of the six Leeds players named, four are uncapped, including the Old Trafford match-winner, Danny McGuire, and Matt Diskin, who was not in Noble's original 40, but has played his way into the squad after a strong end to the season.

The young Rhinos props, Ryan Bailey and Danny Ward, are also in the squad, while the other uncapped players are the St Helens hooker, Mickey Higham, Stuart Reardon of Bradford and the Wigan pair, Sean O'Loughlin and Stephen Wild.

Noble is taking both the St Helens players who have served suspensions for betting offences this season, even though Martin Gleeson has not played since June and Sean Long has only had two games since his ban ran out.

Indeed, with Deacon surprisingly left out, Long is the only specialist scrum-half in the squad, a mark of Noble's confidence that he will have fully recovered from an operation on his foot before Great Britain face Australia at the City of Manchester Stadium on 30 October.

Also included, despite an injury-hit season, is the Wigan winger, Brian Carney. Noble, who has also drafted in Iestyn Harris, only 13 games back in the game after his sojourn in Welsh rugby union. Harris had hinted at wanting a rest this autumn, but Noble, who is also his club coach at the Bulls, said: "Iestyn is fired up to do well for us."

Andy Farrell retains the captaincy that he has held since 1996, with Paul Sculthorpe as vice-captain. Farrell said that he was more than happy to play his new Wigan position of prop for his country and, given the balance of the squad, that is where he looks like being used.

Noble has retained the option of bringing a 25th player into his squad from the 20-man party also announced yesterday for England's European Nations Cup games in France and Russia.

A squad captained by Bradford's Rob Parker incorporates another four Leeds players - but no Sinfield or Deacon.

"We've gone for a young, young team of players who will be trying to progress for the World Cup in 2008," said Salford's Karl Harrison, who is coaching the side.

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