Rugby League: Harris promoted to starting line-up

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The Independent Online
GREAT BRITAIN have responded to their defeat by New Zealand last week by promoting Iestyn Harris to their starting line-up for the second Test at Bolton tomorrow, writes Dave Hadfield.

Harris started the Test at Huddersfield on the bench, but moves to centre stage as his country's stand-off for a match they must win to keep the series alive. It is a move that will be widely welcomed by players and supporters alike, although the Great Britain coach, Andy Goodway, stopped short of admitting that he had got it wrong in the first Test, lost 22- 16 to the Kiwis. However, Harris's selection is recognition of the extra dimension he brings to the side.

"He is a very good player, but he is only part of the team," said Goodway, warning against inflated expectations that Harris' presence alone will prove decisive.

He has also named Harris's Leeds team-mate, Adrian Morley, with whom he works so well, in the second-row. Morley missed the Huddersfield defeat with an ankle injury and is still only regarded as a 70 per cent proposition for this one. If he fails to make it, either Lee Gilmour or Paul Sculthorpe, both relegated to the bench, will step up. They have both fared better than Darren Fleary, who is dropped after making his Test debut.

Dale Laughton moves up to the starting team and Harvey Howard is on stand- by to complete the substitutes if Morley drops out. Keiron Cunningham is fit, despite taking a battering in the first Test.

The former Great Britain stalwart Shaun Edwards has staked his claim for a recall for the third Test. Edwards, 32 years old and capped 36 times, was Ireland's man of the match in their narrow defeat by France in Dublin on Wednesday. "I went out there really fired up," said Edwards, who plays for the London Broncos. "I hope they don't lose on Saturday, but, if they do, perhaps I'll get a call up for the third Test. I still have a burning ambition to play for Great Britain."

Walsall is the latest location to be linked with an application to join Super League. Gateshead Thunder have already been admitted for next season, while Cardiff are to re-apply for a place from 2000.

British team, Digest, page 31