Rugby League: Wigan pair beating injury

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The Independent Online
SHAUN EDWARDS and Denis Betts are winning their fitness battle for Wigan's showdown against Australia tomorrow.

Edwards missed last week's win over Wakefield with a thigh strain and his Great Britain team-mate, Betts, has joined him on the doubtful list with a knee injury.

'But I'm pretty confident they'll both be fit,' said the Wigan coach, Graeme West, who watched the Kangaroos' thrashing of Leeds on Wednesday and is anxious to put his strongest possible side out against them.

'You have to be impressed by them, but it's a question of how well you let them play,' he said. 'Several of our players were there at Leeds, which was a good thing because it makes them realise what a big task they have.'

Australia have paid the English Champions the compliment of naming a virtual Test-strength side. The front- line candidates missing include Andrew Ettingshausen, who scored a hat-trick at Headingley but is nursing a bruised thigh, and the props, Paul Harragon and Glenn Lazarus. Harragon is suspended until the Castleford match next Wednesday, whilst Lazarus is also due for a comeback in that match after straining a groin in the opening match in Cumbria.

Dean Pay continues in the front row, the exciting Wendell Sailor is on the left wing in Ettingshausen's absence, and Ricky Stuart, Bradley Clyde and Steve Walters will play their first games on the tour.

Great Britain's first-choice full-back, Jonathan Davies, returns to action for Warrington against the First Division leaders, Bradford, tonight.

'My groin strain has been nothing to do with the one I had two years ago, and I don't feel I'm taking a risk,' he said.

'I need to get back playing to build up my match fitness before the Tests.'