Rugby League: McRae stunned by record defeat

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The Independent Online
The St Helens coach, Shaun McRae, was in a despairing mood after his side gained the dubious distinction of being on the wrong end of the most embarrassing result yet for a British side in the World Club Championship.

Saints, European Super League's reigning champions, were thrashed 70- 6 by an Auckland Warriors outfit still bottom of the league on the other side of the world.

"I don't know whether you'd call it embarrassing or insulting," he said. "It was the sort of game that makes coaches want to hand in their notice and get on with something else in life.

"We have completely undone all our good work against Cronulla on Monday. I said it was going be tough playing so soon after that - but it wasn't 70-6 worth of tough."

The pattern of Auckland punishing St Helens' mistakes was established in the first 30 seconds with the first of the Warriors' 12 tries. Gene Ngamu finished with three, while Saints' only bright moment was a try from Alan Hunte soon after half-time.

"We don't seem to be improving when we play against better opposition," McRae said. "Our guys had smiles on their faces when Auckland beat Bradford 64-14. We've lost by more than them, so how bad does that make us?"

The London Broncos must try to follow up their memorable victory over Canberra without the invaluable assistance of Shaun Edwards when they play Brisbane tomorrow.

Edwards, whose introduction from the bench swung the game on Monday, has suffered a reaction from his troublesome hamstring. Josh White comes in at scrum-half, with Robbie Beazley moving to his regular position of hooker and Terry Matterson to loose forward.

Matt Dunford is also out with a broken hand and Steve Rosolen with a badly bruised arm, which means that two of London's British-born players, Matt Salter and Ady Spencer, are added to the squad.

Halifax welcome back John Bentley for his first game of rugby league since returning from the British Isles tour.

Bentley, who is still under contract to Halifax despite being loaned to Newcastle and the Lions, is named on the right wing against Canberra, with David Bouveng moving to centre.

Salford have their Australian Test forward, John Cartwright, back for the first time since breaking his arm early in the season for the visit of the North Queensland Cowboys.

His international team-mate, the Cowboys' captain, Ian Roberts, expects to be fit after being forced off with a neck injury during his side's defeat at Oldham last weekend.

Wigan still have doubts over Tony Smith and Lee Hansen for Monday's game against Canterbury, but Bradford hope to have Robbie Paul back against Penrith the same day.