Rugby League: Bradford's untimely test: New Zealand bolstered by late arrivals

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WHETU TAEWA, who played impressively at centre in Swansea in New Zealand's first tour game, is the only player to retain his place for their second outing, against Bradford Northern tonight.

Taewa will play on the wing in a young, largely inexperienced side that includes two of the Kiwis' late arrivals, Jason Donnelly, who played for St George in the Australian Grand Final, and Jason Lowrie, whose departure was delayed due to the death of his father.

Bradford's team-sheet will be scrutinised with unusual interest. They were fined and deprived of a tour match with Australia for fielding a virtual reserve side against New Zealand in 1989. The provisional team named yesterday includes Dave Watson, a candidate for the Kiwi Test team, but omits Paul Newlove, the injured Great Britain centre.

The match comes at a bad time for Bradford, after defeat by Hull KR, and before the meeting with Warrington where Peter Fox, the coach, has indicated that his priorities lie.

Meanwhile, the League's board of directors will today discuss allowing this season's First Division champions to play two matches in New Zealand after the World Club Championship in Australia next June. New Zealand is likely to offer financial guarantees. There is a lingering doubt about the whole project, as the Australian Premiers, the Brisbane Broncos, have a horror of breaking out of the mould of one match per week. However, the prospect of a 50,000 midweek crowd should prove too much to resist.

Jack Robinson, the Wigan chairman, is to appear before the board today over remarks suggesting that Malcolm Reilly, who also coaches Halifax, faced a conflict of interest when coaching international squads containing Wigan players.

Rochdale Hornets have appointed Steve Gibson, the former Salford full-back, as player-coach after sacking Peter Regan.

NEW ZEALAND (v Bradford Northern, tonight): P Edwards; Taewa, Williams, Harding, Donnelly; Nixon (capt), Whittaker; Piva, Johnston, Lowrie, Angell, D Lomax, L Edwards. Substitutes: Freeman, Pongia, Halligan, Johnson.