Rugby League: Deakin hopes for 15,000 turn-out

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The Independent Online
MARKETING THE last match in a Test series that has already been decided will challenge even Peter Deakin's highly regarded salesmanship, writes Dave Hadfield.

Deakin, the man who put bums on seats and feet on terraces at the Bradford Bulls before being lured to do the same for Saracens at Vicarage Road, does not accept that the third Lincoln Test at Watford on Saturday is destined to be a flop at the turnstiles. "I believe people will come to see the best sporting team ever to come out of New Zealand," he said. "The All Blacks have lost five in a row. This team has won five in a row against Great Britain as well as taking one of the best Australian sides right to the wire. They deserve to be regarded as the best ever."

Over 10,000 tickets had already been sold before the second Test, most of them in the South. "A lot of our Saracens supporters have got tickets - and no-one has asked for a refund," he said. "If we get the 15,000 we are expecting, it will show that there is a great deal of interest in rugby league in the South East."

Tony Smith, Gary Connolly and Keith Senior have been added to the British doubtful list with injuries picked up at Bolton.

Tonight France can take the Home International title by beating Scotland at Perpignan. The Scottish side has a strong antipodean flavour. Chris Orr, the half-back released by Huddersfield, has flown back from Queensland at his own expense to play.

In the curtain-raiser, the outstanding Great Britain Academy side shows one change from the one that thrashed France at Hunslet 12 days ago. David Wrench, comes onto the bench in place of his injured Leeds team- mate, Gareth Carvell.