Robinson injury delays England's final selection

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

England will not name their side for the final of the Halifax Centenary World Cup until Thursday, partly because of a doubt over the fitness of the Wigan winger, Jason Robinson.

Robinson, an automatic selection for the Wembley showdown against Australia on Saturday, twisted a foot during the semi-final victory over Wales.

His Wigan team-mate and England World Cup captain, Shaun Edwards, is available again after recovering from a knee infection, but he did not train yesterday and will have to demonstrate in the rest of the week that he is fully fit.

Gary Connolly, kept out of the whole tournament so far by a bout of pneumonia, did train and the England coach, Phil Larder, still clings to the stubborn hope that he could play a part in the final.

Castleford have denied that they have organised a press conference to announce a major signing - widely rumoured to be England's other leading centre, Paul Newlove - next Monday.

A decision on the referee for Wembley has been deferred until today. The tournament's director of referees, Greg McCallum, watched videos of both semi-finals yesterday and those two referees, Eddie Ward, of Brisbane, and Castleford's Russell Smith, are both in the frame, along with another English official, Stuart Cummings, from Widnes.

The selection of Smith would draw howls of protest from the Australians, who have already complained about his handling of their match against New Zealand.

But no official complaint has been received by the World Cup organisers and it would not be likely to influence McCallum's decision.

Both teams have been warned to limit the number of trainers and water- carriers on the field on Saturday. Smith admonished the Australians over the practice on Sunday and McCallum has made it clear that carrying walkie- talkies on to the field is forbidden.

A gate of 60,000 now seems to be a reasonable prospect and the organisers have explained that gaps in the crowd at a supposedly sold out Old Trafford for the England-Wales semi-final were largely due to touts being left with unsold tickets.