Rugby League: Morley doubt for first Test

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The Independent Online
FIVE OF Great Britain's squad have been given the bad news that they will not be in Andy Goodway's line-up for the first Test against New Zealand at Huddersfield tomorrow.

Four forwards - Harvey Howard, Terry O'Connor, Terry Newton and Mike Forshaw - will be on the sidelines for the series opener, along with the Leeds threequarter, Francis Cummins. That means Super League's two leading try-scorers, Cummins and St Helens' Anthony Sullivan, are both omitted from Goodway's immediate plans.

That leaves 18 players for 17 shirts, with Leeds' second-rower, Adrian Morley, the big fitness doubt, with an ankle injury he picked up in Saturday's Grand Final defeat by Wigan. Morley would be an automatic selection if fit. The alternatives still in the squad are Simon Haughton, Chris Joynt and the uncapped Lee Gilmour.

Everything now points to first caps for both Dale Laughton and Darren Fleary, the prop forwards from Sheffield and Leeds respectively, while another Sheffield player, Keith Senior, looks earmarked for a place on the wing.

The St Helens stand-off, Tommy Martyn, tipped by many to be in the Great Britain squad against the Kiwis, will play instead for Ireland against France in Dublin next Wednesday - the first match of the triangular series that also involves Scotland and Ireland's first full international on home soil.

Martyn forms an experienced half-back pairing with Shaun Edwards, capped 36 times by Great Britain. Other full internationals in a strong Irish side are Steve Prescott, Neil Harmon, Barrie McDermott and Mick Cassidy.

France have three players with experience of club rugby in Britain in Freddie Banquet, Jean-Marc Garcia and Gael Tallec. Tallec's Castleford have continued their team-building for next season by signing the stand- off or loose forward, Dale Fritz, from the North Queensland Cowboys. Fritz, previously with Illawarra, joins his fellow-Australians Adrian Vowles and Aaron Raper, and the Fijian prop, James Pickering, on an overseas quota that now has just one slot left open.

"Dale has played consistently at the top level in Australia over the past seven years," the club's coach, Stuart Raper, said. "He is also a leader, who will be able to show the way forward for some of our younger players."