Stuart fears referees and rivals

By Dave Hadfield in Townsville

The Australia coach, Ricky Stuart, says that his side face their sternest test for over three decades when they start their World Cup campaign tomorrow. The Aussies have won every tournament since 1975 and kick off against New Zealand in Sydney as obvious favourites for this one.

Yet Stuart fears they might have to fight off the challenge of the Kiwis and the English with one hand figuratively tied behind their backs. Such is the controversy in Australia about the so-called grapple tackle and the use of wrestling techniques at the play-the-ball that he is afraid that referees might take too much of the physical confrontation out of the game.

"I just hope it doesn't turn into a physical game of touch," he said, hinting that any confusion over what they can and cannot do in the tackle could make the Kangaroos vulnerable to one of their main rivals.

"They've certainly got the talent here to beat us," he said of the Kiwis and England, who play Australia in Melbourne a week on Sunday. "It's been seen over the years that New Zealand and England have the ability to beat Australia on their day. We can't afford to be off our game."

Australia have four new caps facing the Kiwis, including a new second-row pairing of Anthony Laffranchi and Glenn Stewart, but still look skilful and experienced enough to win.

The same day, Scotland take on France with a side including the three Henderson brothers, one of whom will not be welcomed back in Castleford with open arms any time soon. The New Zealand Warriors and former Bradford hooker, Ian Henderson, was asked by an Australian newspaper to name the worst place he had ever lived. He unhesitatingly chose Castleford, where he once shared a house with his brother, the Cas hooker, Andrew, claiming that it and neighbouring Pontefract were considered "the worst places in England to live".

"It's dull, always grey and everyone just drinks themselves silly. They've got rotten teeth, need a bath... just run around drinking," he told the paper.

The three Torquay-born brothers, who qualify through a Scottish grandmother are part of a squad which has been quietly allowed to forget the original requirement to have six players from their domestic competition in the party. The one who does fall into that category, Edinburgh Eagles' Paddy Coupar, is not in the 17 to meet France in Canberra.

Tonga's case to be able to include Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki in their squad despite the pair electing to play for New Zealand last year will be heard in the New South Wales Supreme Court on Monday morning – the same day that Tonga start their programme of group matches against Ireland in Parramatta.

The Ireland coach, Andy Kelly, has named a 19-man squad, including London Skolars' Wayne Kerr. The squad will be reduced to 17 tomorrow.

Weekend fixtures

*Today: England v Papua New Guinea (Townsville, 9.55am).

*Tomorrow: Scotland v France (Canberra, 6.25am); Australia v New Zealand (Sydney, 8.55am).

*Later stages: Top three Group A teams joined by play-off winners from Group B and C victors in semi-finals.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power