Rugby Union: Joseph to be disciplined by All Blacks: Tourists sound ready to pack their bags with two games to go as captains name their pick for next Tuesday's University match

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The Independent Online
THE New Zealand management last night reacted to the opprobrium heaped on Jamie Joseph for the injury he gratuitously caused the England scrum-half, Kyran Bracken, by announcing that Joseph was to be disciplined.

They then diminished the effect, declining to share with an interested public precisely what they had done by keeping it 'in-house', as they put it. The 24-year-old flanker deliberately, and quite unnecessarily, trod on Bracken's ankle off the ball and the new cap was relieved that it was sprained rather than broken.

Bracken played on in considerable pain and left Twickenham on crutches, but had the last laugh as England had won. Joseph, who was once suspended in New Zealand on TV video evidence, was not chosen to play against Combined Services at Devonport tonight and a really meaningful punishment would be his exclusion from Saturday's tour finale against the Barbarians.

'The incident was rather disappointing in view of the personal standards that we set ourselves on this tour,' Laurie Mains, the All Blacks coach, said last night after he, the manager, Neil Gray, and the tourists' medical team had watched a recording of the incident. 'In light of that, we will take some disciplinary action within the team, as we have on a couple of other occasions on this tour for different reasons.'

Small wonder that, if we are to believe Va'aiga Tuigamala, the All Blacks want to go home what with last Saturday's defeat, Joseph and the Sean Fitzpatrick racial-abuse row. Their Test hopes having gone west, one suspects the last place they want to be is in the West for tonight's game. But amid the various controversies they may be pleased to know that Victor Ubogu, allegedly the target of Fitzpatrick's tongue, harbours no grudge.

The Nigerian-born prop broke his silence yesterday, though he might as well not have bothered. 'I just want to forget about it,' he said.

Tuigamala's view may or may not have something to do with the persistent connection that has been made between him and Wigan ever since the day the All Blacks arrived. Now that New Zealand have lost to England, he might as well sign on the dotted line and have done with rugby union altogether.

Instead the Services, at the less- than-salubrious Devonport ground, and the Barbarians at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday still lie ahead. 'I don't know whether it was the loss, but the climax of any tour is the Test,' Tuigamala said yesterday.

At least Inga the winger does not have the inconvenience of turning out tonight. Rory Underwood does, playing for the Services three days after the England triumph, though another of the All Blacks' conquerors, Tim Rodber, yesterday withdrew because his shoulder injury requires two weeks' rest.

The biggest draw-card in the Barbarians, the Lions captain Gavin Hastings, has been lost because of his withdrawal with a cut hand. Anthony Clement, Hastings's faithful deputy in New Zealand, will replace him at full-back. The England wing Tony Underwood is also out.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Rugby Union is pursuing another group of New Zealanders over the Hawick No 8 Brian Renwick's complaint that an Auckland player broke his jaw. The SRU is to view a video of the Scottish Districts match against the tourists on 14 November and, if it sees fit, will take up the matter with NZRFU officials in Cardiff.

COMBINED SERVICES: Cpl P Hull (RAF); Cpl S Bartliff (Army), SAC G Sharp (RAF), AB (S) D Sibson (RN), Fl Lt R Underwood (RAF); Flt Lt A Johnson (RAF), Sgt S Worrall (Army, capt); Cpl A Billett (RAF), Capt J Brammer (Army), Sgt J Fowers (Army), Cpl R Armstrong (RN), Sgt B Richardson (RAF), Fl Lt C Moore (RAF), L/Cpl G Watson (Army), Capt R Wainwright (Army).

NEW ZEALAND: S Howarth (Auckland); E Clarke (Auckland), M Berry (Wellington), L Stensness (Auckland), E Rush (North Harbour); S Bachop (Otago), J Preston (Wellington); M Allen (Taranaki), N Hewitt (Hawke's Bay), G Purvis (Waikato), B Larsen (North Harbour), R Fromont (Auckland), L Barry (North Harbour), J Mitchell (Waikato, capt), P Henderson (Southland).

Referee: D Davies (Wales).