Rugby League: Schofield's rapid recall

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The Independent Online
THE former Great Britain captain, Garry Schofield, has been given a rapid recall to the squad to prepare for the second John Smith's Test against Australia.

Schofield, unceremoniously dropped for the first match of the Ashes series, has been brought back primarily because of doubts over the fitness of Daryl Powell, who suffered a dead-leg at Wembley, missed Sheffield Eagles' match against the tourists on Wednesday night and is by no means certain to be ready for Old Trafford on 5 November.

Schofield's policy of neither saying nor doing anything that could be interpreted as sour grapes has therefore paid a quick dividend.

Despite his disappointment, he was diplomacy itself in his TV duties at Wembley and made a point of going to the Great Britain dressing-room to congratulate the winners.

'I have no bitterness towards anyone,' he said. 'All I want to do is to train and play to the best of my ability and win back a place in the side.'

The Great Britain coach, Ellery Hanley, has also called up three other players for the second Test squad.

Paul Loughlin, the St Helens centre, returns after missing the last 12 Tests, but after showing good form for his club of late.

The other two additions seem to be there mainly as cover for Lee Jackson, the Sheffield hooker who finished in pain from both wrists at Wembley and also missed the Eagles' date with the tourists.

They are Castleford's Richard Russell, who makes his first appearance in a Great Britain squad, and the versatile Paul Hulme, who plays mainly back- row and scrum-half for Widnes, but was the hooker when Great Britain beat Australia in Sydney in 1988.

Apart from Jackson and Powell, Great Britain have doubts over their Welshmen, Jonathan Davies and Allan Bateman, for Old Trafford, and are hoping with increasing intensity that Paul Newlove is fit to return after his knee injury.

In the absence of the suspended Shaun Edwards and the injured Frano Botica, Wigan will field a new half-back pairing of Henry Paul and Craig Murdock at Hull tonight.

The Australian centre, Paul McGregor, will be out for three or four weeks after tearing a hamstring at Sheffield, while another leg injury victim, Laurie Daley, is unlikely to be risked against Wales on Sunday.