Smith keeps faith with youthful backs
England's youngest half-back combination in living memory are both set to hold their places for Saturday's Four Nations final against Australia in Leeds.
Sam Tomkins and Kyle Eastmond – both 20 – played the full 80 minutes in the win over New Zealand last weekend. Despite their coach Tony Smith hinting at tweaking his team, and the competition from Danny McGuire and Richie Myler, the pair are in line to do the same at Elland Road.
Another certain starter, the St Helens prop James Graham, has dismissed rumours that he could be about to move to Wigan. "As far as I know, I'm at St Helens next season," Graham said.
England's Gareth Ellis and Kevin Sinfield are among the nominees for the Golden Boot, awarded annually to the game's outstanding international player. Three Australians – Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Cameron Smith – are nominated, along with New Zealand's Fuifui Moimoi.
Only three days from the final the two sides remain embarrassingly deadlocked over the choice of referee. The three countries with a vote – Australia, England and New Zealand – have each opted for their own referee. A decision will be made today, possibly by an independent arbiter.
The former Widnes chairman Stephen Vaughan has been banned from holding a directorship in any business for 11 years after admitting a VAT fraud through which he ran the club. A Widnes spokesman said that the case had no implications for the new company which now runs the Vikings.
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