"He doesn't want to take any extra risks," Clive Griffiths, the Welsh coach, said. "It is very disappointing, although we have spoken about it amicably. The bigger disappointment is that the Rugby League is allowing players of his calibre to go to union. Not long ago, money was being thrown around to keep players out of the clutches of the Australians, but now it seems that they can go to union without any attempt to keep them."
Griffiths, whose first match is against France in Carcassonne on 5 June, has named one Australian-based player, Allan Bateman, in the hope that money will become available to fly him to Europe for the tournament. With injury doubts over Kelvin Skerrett and Scott Gibbs, Griffiths has called up Craig Dean of Halifax and the Keighley pair, Jason Critchley and Andy Eyres.
The Halifax forward, Michael Jackson, has been cleared after being sent off in a case of mistaken identity against Wigan during Tuesday's Super League fixture. A study of the match video has shown that the Halifax full-back, Asa Amone, was the perpetrator, and he will appear before the disciplinary committee next Thursday.