Halifax thrashed

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The Independent Online
British misery in the World Club Championship continued Down Under, with Halifax and Salford both on the wrong end of record thrashings.

Halifax were hammered 70-6 by Canberra Raiders - the club's biggest-ever score. The New South Wales full-back, Ken Nagas, scored six tries - another record.

"Our lads were overawed," the Halifax manager, David Hobbs, said. "We gave Canberra too much respect."

Salford hardly did much better at Adelaide, losing 50-8 to give the home side the first half-century of their short history. Salford were only 16-8 in arrears with half an hour to play, with their best player, Gary Broadbent, scoring their only try. But they fell apart in the closing stages to allow Adelaide to play exhibition rugby.

"I'm sorry the fans didn't see the real Salford," said their coach, Andy Gregory. "My lads had trouble with the speed of their play. The British game is not as committed or intense as its Australian equivalent."

The hopes for any face-saving in the first round of fixtures now lie with Wigan and Bradford, who both play their opening games today.

Wigan will not risk Terry O'Connor's ankle at Canterbury, but still have an invaluable nucleus of players who know what top-class international competition is all about. The European Super League-leading Bulls hope, not for the first time since his foot injury at Wembley, to have Robbie Paul back in action against Penrith tonight.

The St Helens captain, Bobbie Goulding, will decide this week whether to bring forward an operation for a hernia. Goulding was planning to put off the surgery until after the tournament, but was clearly hampered by the injury when Saints were beaten by Auckland on Friday night.

"I got hit in the first tackle and was struggling after that," Goulding said. "I had hoped to get through the competition, but I will sit down with the club this week and decide whether it needs to be operated on now."

The League will decide this week whether Auckland's Anthony Swann will face disciplinary action over the incident that saw St Helens' Andy Haigh taken off with a cut head on Friday night. Swann appeared to bring his knee into contact with Haigh, who was later examined in hospital, and was placed on report by the referee, Stuart Cummings.

The manager of the Welsh international side, Mike Nicholas, has reacted angrily to the news that they will not compete separately in next year's World Cup in Australasia, but will instead be reunited with England to play as Great Britain.

"This is the final nail in the coffin of the Welsh team and an insult to all the players who have played over the years," Nicholas said. "It smacks of the International Board trying to manufacture a competition for television and local supporters."

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