Rugby League: Australia to ask for replacement: Tourists lose Lazarus

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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA are likely to send for a replacement after losing their prop, Glenn Lazarus, in the first match of their tour on Sunday against Cumbria.

Lazarus limped off with a recurrence of a groin strain at Workington and could be out of action for as long as four weeks. He is certainly out of this week's matches at Leeds and Wigan, and must be considered almost as definite an absentee from the first Test at Wembley on 22 October.

With another specialist prop, Paul Harragon, suspended for the first three matches of the tour, the Australian coach, Bob Fulton, is almost certain to decide that he needs reinforcements. Mark Carroll, of Manly, is the likely choice, although the Newcastle prop, Mark Sargent, could also be called upon.

For tomorrow night's match at Leeds, Paul Sironen is pushed up to prop to complete a front row of two second-rowers with Dean Pay.

Workington give a debut to the French Under-21 scrum-half, Vincent Banet, in the bottom of the table match at Featherstone tonight.

The Workington coach, Peter Walsh, was not planning to use any of the players who turned out against Australia, but Paul Burns, will now be at centre and Steven Holgate on the bench.

Featherstone, whose coach, Steve Martin, has been given clear hints that his job is in danger if results do not improve, gives a first appearance to the Kiwi stand-off, Mark Nixon. There are also debuts for Mark Ellis at prop and, if Mark Aston fails a fitness test, Alex Thompson at scrum-half.

David Niu, captain of the American Patriots side which beat Canada 22-10 in St Catherine's, Ontario, at the weekend, has said that half his team would be worth contracts with professional clubs.

The Rugby League is set to explore twinning arrangements which could bring American players to Britain, where they would fall outside clubs' import quotas.

The League is eager to go ahead with plans for a World Club Challenge in Hong Kong next June, despite the cool response of the Australian champions, the Canberra Raiders, to the idea.