Rugby League: Jackson gains edge for Test place

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The Independent Online
A PREDICTED 17,000 capacity crowd at Carlaw Park here for the second Test against New Zealand on Sunday would end Great Britain's tour of Australasia on a profitable note.

Attendances in New Zealand are set to follow those in Australia, where the 1992 Lions proved a bigger draw than any of their immediate predecessors.

The 11,000 crowd for the first Test in Palmerston North - which the Lions lost 15-14 - was the best for a Test against Britain outside Auckland since Dunedin in 1928, the best anywhere since 1978 and 3,000 up on the equivalent game two years ago.

Britain's manager, Maurice Lindsay, said it was too early to make predictions about the financial success of the tour. 'We are still waiting for the cash from the third Test in Brisbane and in New Zealand we are being hard hit by the falling value of their dollar,' he said.

The British coach, Malcolm Reilly, remained here today preparing his Test squad, while the assistant coach, John Kear, who arrived a fortnight ago to take over from Phil Larder, took the team to Christchurch to play Canterbury.

Kelvin Skerrett has a recurrence of his asthma and Britain were preparing to have only three substitutes available for the match.

In the ongoing struggle for the Test hooking position, Lee Jackson is ahead of Martin Dermott, having now recovered from his dead leg. Dermott should also be clear of his groin strain by Sunday, however.

The New Zealand Rugby League was today discussing the position of Tawera Nikau, their first-choice loose forward, who withdrew from the first Test team for family reasons, but then turned out for his club, Otahuhu, in Auckland at the weekend.

Graham Mackay, the former Bradford Northern winger, makes his Australian Test debut, replacing the injured Andrew Ettingshausen in the side to play Papua New Guinea in Townsville tonight.

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