Long ruled out but Lowes back

Dave Hadfield
Tuesday 12 November 2002 01:00

James Lowes has come off gardening leave to help Great Britain save their Test series against New Zealand, but there will be no Sean Long to aid the cause.

The St Helens scrum-half had another X-ray examination on his broken jaw yesterday and the result ended his hopes of being able to play any part in the series. "It hasn't healed sufficiently for him to be involved in the next two weeks," said the Great Britain coach, David Waite.

That leaves Lowes, brought in because Keiron Cunningham's dislocated elbow will rule him out of the rest of the series, as the new element in the mix for the match at Huddersfield this Saturday.

"Both Keiron and Jimmy have great attacking ability," said Waite. "Jimmy's a wily character with a lot of tricks up his sleeve. He's a different player and we're very aware of his strengths and subtleties."

The 33-year-old Bradford hooker, who considered retirement at the end of last season, said he had no doubts about returning to Test rugby. "It's what you want at any stage of your career," he said. "I didn't expect to play, because I didn't expect Keiron to be injured, but I'm ready for it. I was at home, doing a bit or gardening and a bit of tiling, so it's saved me from a month of DIY."

Waite is hoping that Paul Sculthorpe will be fit to reclaim his place at Huddersfield after his thigh injury. "If he's not fit for this one, we hope he'll be fit for the third Test," he said. Terry O'Connor, the Wigan prop left out of the first Test to rest niggling injuries, is likely to play in the second.

Peter Roe, who coached Wakefield in Super League for part of last season, has taken over at Swinton for the second time. The experienced Roe, who will carry the title of team manager, replaces Phil Veivers, who has moved to Leigh as assistant coach.

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