Rugby League: Farrell eager for revenge

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The Independent Online
A mixture of wounded pride and ambition fuelled Great Britain as they flew off to Australia this morning to contest the World Nines in Townsville, Queensland.

Andy Farrell, the captain who has been passed fit to travel after recovering from a thigh strain, sees the trip as an opportunity for revenge over New Zealand, who whitewashed the Lions tourists in a Test series last autumn and also won the tournament last year.

"No one likes getting beaten 3-0 in a Test series, so everything that happens from now on against New Zealand is a chance to get one back on them," Farrell said.

Great Britain play the Kiwis in the fifth of their pool matches next weekend and, with all due respect to Tonga, South Africa, France and Japan, they represent the main barrier on the way to the semi-finals.

"New Zealand were very impressive in the Nines last year, but I believe that we are a lot stronger this time round," Farrell added.

The squad's coach, Andy Gregory, has admitted to seeing the tournament as a possible route to the full Test coaching job. "Phil Larder is still in charge of Great Britain and he has given me a lot of help," he said. "I'm not looking far beyond trying to have a really good season with Salford this year, but I would love the opportunity to coach my country.

"I have never understood players who didn't want to play for Great Britain, and to coach your country is the greatest honour in coaching."

That remark merged into a slap on the wrist for Bobbie Goulding, who withdrew last weekend after originally agreeing to come in as a replacement for his St Helens team-mate, Keiron Cunningham.

"Bobbie's agent phoned me on Saturday morning to tell me that he didn't want to go because he had things to sort out here, which disappointed me," Gregory said. "But I don't want to dwell on Bobbie, because we are taking a party of players who really want to play for Great Britain."

The Lions tour forward, Steve Molloy, who has been on the transfer list at Featherstone since last season, is considering staying with the club after being offered new terms. Molloy, listed at pounds 100,000, has been a target for a number of Super League clubs.

Lee Penny, Warrington's Great Britain Under-21 full-back, will miss his team's start to the new season after receiving a two-match ban yesterday. Penny was placed on report by the referee Steve Presley for an alleged high tackle during Warrington's friendly against Salford last Sunday.