Rugby League: Broncos install Stains as coach

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RECOMMENDATIONS FROM three of the Australian game's legendary figures have earned Dan Stains the coach's job at the London Broncos. The former Queensland State of Origin prop forward, who also played briefly for Halifax in the late 1980s, has been coaching the reserve side at Balmain, whose head coach, Wayne Pearce, gave him a glowing reference.

"He was always on our list," said the Broncos' chief executive, Tony Rea. "We also spoke to Arthur Beetson and Jack Gibson, who also highly recommended him."

Rea said that a line-up of three of Australia's greatest players and coaches had amounted to a strong job application for Stains, who will start his two-year contract with the club by flying over this weekend on a short visit to start putting his ideas into effect. He replaces Tony Currie, who departed last month after three seasons in charge.

The former Great Britain scrum-half, Mike Ford, has joined Second Division Bramley as player-coach. Ford, who played for Castleford last season, takes over from Paul Fletcher, who returns to Bramley's parent club, Leeds, to rejoin their coaching staff. Ford turned down the chance to become Whitehaven's new coach earlier this week.

The Great Britain coach, Andy Goodway, has admitted that he is considering a couple of changes to his side for the second Test against New Zealand at Bolton on Saturday. Goodway plans to name his team tomorrow and the signs are that he will this time start with the Leeds captain, Iestyn Harris, at stand-off.

"We had a good meeting with the players this morning to talk about things," Goodway said yesterday. "Everybody is in contention, although there are some bumps and bruises."

The New Zealand coach, Frank Endacott, is likely to persist with the line-up that won at Huddersfield, despite talking to a couple of his players about what he regarded as substandard performances.

"I wasn't at all happy with the performance," Endacott said. "There are a lot of areas we can improve on, but I don't envisage too many changes."

The match is now a 25,000 sell-out, with the last tickets being snapped up yesterday. Interest is building, too, for the third Test, at Watford's Vicarage Road, where capacity at the football club is just under 22,000.

There will be rather fewer than that at Tolka Park in Dublin tonight, but the Rugby League hopes to top 3,000 for Ireland's first full international on home soil, against France.

The former Great Britain coach, Malcolm Reilly, hopes to add the St George centre Andrew Tangata-Toa to his Huddersfield side for next season. Reilly coached Tangata-Toa at the Newcastle Knights and said: "I'm pretty confident that he will be coming here and he will certainly add something to the team."

Reilly was officially unveiled as Huddersfield's new coach yesterday.

Sheffield Eagles have signed Parramatta's New Zealand-born centre, Karl Lovell, for next season. He joins the former Sheffield player, Jeff Hardy, as the Eagles' new overseas recruits for 1999.