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Kiwis ready to fight for players

THE New Zealand Rugby League says it is ready to go to the international board if NRL clubs refuse to release players to take on Great Britain on 27 June. Coach Brian McClennan wants Fui Fui Moi Moi, Iosia Soliola, Jeremy Smith, David Kidwell and Billy Ngawini, who all play in Australia, for the one-off Test. "We're not asking for too much because we haven't asked for any stars," said NZRL chairman Selwyn Bennett. "I think it's getting to the stage where we're going to have to test it." McClennan wants to use the one-off match at St Helens to try out some new players, and hopes to play Ngawini alongside Stacey Jones at half-back. But Jones has indicated he is concentrating on regaining fitness playing for Catalans Dragons after a long lay-off with a broken arm before he thinks about playing for his country again. "In an ideal world, I'd love to play but I've got make sure I'm going all right for the Dragons before I start thinking about playing Test-match football," he told the Rugby Football League website. Source:

W. C. could get European feel

AS many as five of the 10 nations competing in the 2008 World Cup in Australia could be from Europe. England and France will be direct entries, along with hosts Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. But Wales, Scotland and Ireland will have the chance to join them through a convoluted qualifying process. West Indies, Japan, South Africa, USA, Holland, Georgia, Russia, Serbia, Fiji, Lebanon, Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands are also chasing a place in the finals. Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Lebanon will be joined in a European World Cup qualifying tournament by the top two teams to emerge from a preliminary competition featuring Georgia, Holland, Russia and Serbia. Georgia and Holland met in Tbilisi on Friday, the home side winning 57-16 in front of a crowd of almost 11,000. The game was also shown live on Georgian national televison. The European World Cup qualifying tournament will begin in October, with the teams divided into two groups and playing reverse fixtures in 2007. The group winners will go through to the main draw while the runners-up will feature in a play-off against the winners of the Atlantic and Pacific groups to decide the 10th finalist. West Indies, Japan, South Africa and the USA will meet in the Atlantic group, with Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Cook Islands playing each other in the Pacific pool.Source:

C Cup R5: Robins keep winning

HULL Kingston Rovers ran away with it in the second half as they reached the Challenge Cup quarter-finals at the expense of Featherstone.

C.Cup final to move as Wembley faces delay

AFTER initial delays, work on the new stadium was set to be finished in time for soccer's Community Shield on August 13.But that game, along with an England soccer friendly in August and two Euro 2008 qualifiers in September and October, will now be played at other venues.The completion delay means that rugby league's Challenge Cup final on 26 August will also be held elsewhere.The official deadline for the handover of the stadium was due to take place on Friday, but the FA is still waiting to hear exactly when the builders will finish the stadium.Multiplex are due to make an announcement to the Australian stock exchange on what progress they have made.Wembley was originally supposed to stage the FA Cup final on 13 May as well as the Football League play-offs, but the decision was made to move them to Cardiff in February.Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Challenge Cup final will be moved to Twickenham, the HQ of rugby union in England."We have contingency plans in place," an RFL spokesman told BBC Sport."We have a contract with Wembley, but we have not yet been told that there is a problem or that we won't be able to hold the game there."An RFU spokeswoman confirmed the Twickenham stadium was available on 26 August, but refused to comment on whether the organisation had been in talks with the RFL."There has been a lot of speculation and we don't want to add to that at the moment," said the spokeswoman.About 35,000 Challenge Cup final tickets have been sold, with many fans travelling to London from rugby league's heartland in the north of England - meaning another venue in the capital is the most likely destination if Wembley is not ready in time.The BBC has also learned that the delay has also affected four music concerts scheduled for this year.The building of the stadium has suffered numerous problems, with a roof beam collapsing last week, resulting in building work being cancelled for a day.There have also been problems with underground sewer pipes at the stadium and workers were sent home on Tuesday after disputes over pay and threats of redundancy.

Doncaster sign ex-Bull Pratt

DONCASTER have signed Karl Pratt after the former Bradford Bulls player was forced to quit top-flight rugby because of persistent shoulder problems."This opportunity was unexpected, but I am thrilled to join a club with huge potential," said the 25-year-old Pratt."I can't play at the highest level anymore, but I feel I can contribute the knowledge I gained to the Lakers and be part of something special here."National League One side Doncaster are chasing promotion to Super League.Lakers coach St John Ellis added: "It all happened very quickly. I told Karl what we are all about and where we are going and how I felt he could help."Having played at the very top level under coaches such as Brian Noble, David Waite and Graham Murray, I believe Karl can be an integral part of our team and help us move forward."He has a wealth of experience and talent and will be a massive help in improving our young players."Pratt, who began his career with Featherstone Rovers before moving to Leeds Rhinos, joined the Bulls in 2002.He went on to claim winners medals in the Challenge Cup, Super League Grand Final and World Club Championship.He also represented Great Britain against New Zealand in 2003. - - - - -Thanks to for this news.

Hull derby off after cash dispute

CITY rivals Hull FC and Hull KR have fallen out over the proceeds of a planned pre-season friendly next year.

Great Britain claim 3 places in World 13

THREE of Great Britain's Tri-Nations line-up have been named in this season's World XIII. Keiron Cunningham, Stuart Fielden and Jamie Peacock were all included in the side unveiled in the December issue of Rugby League world magazine. There are just two New Zealanders in the side - Lesley Vainikolo and Ruben Wiki - despite their Tri-Nations win. Australia make up the majority of the team even after their 24-0 defeat to the Kiwis on Saturday. The World XIII is selected by journalists from all the major league-playing nations. Rugby league World XIII 2005:A Minichiello (Australia); B Tate (Australia), M Gasnier (Australia), M Cooper (Australia); L Vainikolo (New Zealand); D Lockyer (Australia), A Johns (Australia); S Fielden (Great Britain), K Cunningham (Great Britain), R Wiki (New Zealand), C Fitzgibbon (Australia), J Peacock (Great Britain), B Kennedy (Australia).

Vagana faces hearing over tackle

NEW Zealand's Nigel Vagana will will appear before a meeting of the three-man Rugby League International Federation Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday charged with an alleged high tackle which put Great Britain's Paul Deacon out of the Tri-Nations.

Sinfield: It's not a must-win game

GREAT Britain player and Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield writes regularly for BBC Sport.

Lyon hopes for Australian recall

BLOCKBUSTING St Helens centre Jamie Lyon has not given up hope of reclaiming a place in Australia's Test side for the Tri-Nations Series.

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