Thackray earns chance against Australia at expense of Fozzard

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The Independent Online

"Nick had his opportunity and did the things we asked of him," said Great Britain's assistant coach, Jon Sharp. "But Jamie has been great in training."

The incumbent British prop, Stuart Fielden, predicted that Thackray would handle the step up. "He's one of the form props in Super League and he deserves his shirt," Fielden said. "He's been training very hard. He's enthusiastic and he'll give his all."

The other significant change is that Rob Burrow has been left out, with Iestyn Harris and Richard Horne likely to form a new half-back pairing. Mick Higham has also been included and looks set for a place on the bench.

"Our selection depends very much on the threats posed by the opposition, and Australia present a different set of problems from New Zealand," Sharp said.

Brian Carney has retained his place in the squad, despite a nightmare evening at Loftus Road. "Nobody's selection was automatic, but we've been impressed with Brian all week," said Sharp. "He's a strong character, a strong personality and he's responded very positively. He's a person who can handle the things that happened last week."

England, who play New Zealand in the second-string international on Sunday, have lost three players from their squad through injury. Warrington's Mark Gleeson and the St Helens pair, Ade Gardner and Mike Bennett, have all been ruled out, with David Hodgson, Ben Westwood and Danny Ward drafted in. The Kiwis will be captained by Leeds' Ali Lauitiiti and have placed St Helens' Willie Talau on stand-by in case Lance Hohaia is unfit.

Wales will be unchanged for the European Nations Cup final against France in Carcassonne on Saturday, although the veteran scrum-half, Kevin Ellis, will travel as a reserve player and assistant coach to Martin Hall.

The French coach, John Monie, has opted for Maxime Greseque at half-back, rather than Laurent Frayssinous.

Adrian Lam is leaving Wigan for a two-year deal at the Australian club Cronulla, where he will work under former Wigan coach Stuart Raper. "Stuart rates Adrian as one of the smartest football brains in the business," said the club's chief executive, Steve Rogers.

Peter Roe, made redundant by Barrow at the end of the National League One season, is back at his former club, Keighley, as coach.

GB squad

(v Australia, at JJB Stadium, Wigan,

Saturday, kick-off 6.15pm):

P Wellens (St Helens), B Carney (Wigan), M Gleeson (Warrington), K Senior (Leeds), C Walker (Leeds), L Pryce (Bradford), I Harris (Bradford), K Sinfield (Leeds), P Deacon (Bradford), R Horne (Hull), A Morley (Sydney Roosters), K Cunningham (St Helens), M Higham (St Helens), S Fielden (Bradford), J Thackray (Hull), P Johnson (Bradford), J Peacock (Bradford, capt), L Gilmour (St Helens), G Ellis (Leeds)