STUART Littler's injury-time try saw Ireland salvage a point in their World Cup 2008 European Group Two qualifier.
NEW Zealand Rugby League executive chairman Selwyn Bennett has resigned over the Nathan Fen "granny gate" debacle.
GREAT Britain five-eighth Danny McGuire is out of tomorrow night's Tri-Nations rugby league Test against Australia after failing to recover from a thigh injury.
ENGLAND coach Paul Cullen will give debuts to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats centre Ryan Atkins and Hull FC second rower Graeme Horne against Samoa in the Federation Shield match at the KC Stadium on Sunday.
THIS Sunday's Federation Shield clash in Castres should decide which of these teams will be England's opponent in next weekend's final. Both France and Tonga have registered one win each (against Samoa) so the winner here will join England in a battle of the top two teams of this tournament.The French lose Prop Matthew Griffi from the side that defated Samoa 28-6, with Adel Fellous regaining his place, and Damien Courtier moving into consideration from the bench.No information as to the make-up of the Tongan side as yet, but they are without captain Solomon Haumono who has returned t o Australia for his wedding this weekend, and may rejoin the team if they win and qualify for the tournament final. France v Tonga, Sunday 5 November at Castres (Stade Pierre Antoine, 15:45)French side:Renaud Guigue, Olivier Charles, Teddy Saddoui, Sebastien Planed, Frederic Zitter, Maxime Greseque, James Wynnes, Jerome Guisset (captain), Julien Rinaldi, Adel Fellous, Jamal Fakir, Eric Anselme, Gregory Mounis. Jean-Christophe Borlin, David Ferriol, Olivier Elima, Christophe Moly, Damien Courtier (one to be ommitted). Sources: http://www.ffr13.com
IRELAND coach Andy Kelly has rung the changes for his side's second World Cup qualifying match against Lebanon in Dublin on Sunday.Veteran prop Barrie McDermott, who made a record-extending 13th appearance in Ireland's 50-12 win over Russia in Moscow a fortnight ago, sits out the next match, along with Liam Harrison, David Bates and Martin McLoughlin.Into a 20-man squad come Leigh full-back Scott Grix, Widnes winger Damien Blanch, former Hull forward Paul McNicholas, Salford prop Gareth Haggerty and Steve Nolan, Eric Roberts and Billy Treacy from Ireland's domestic competition.Kelly will finalise his line-up after Saturday's final training session in Dublin before Sunday's game which has a noon kick-off at Tolka Park.Ireland squad: S Grix (Leigh), D Blanch (Widnes), S Littler (Salford), T Stewart (Harlequins), G Dodd (Widnes), C Bridge (Warrington), B Beswick (Widnes), R Tandy (Widnes), P Cantillon (Rochdale), P McNicholas (unattached), M Cassidy (Widnes), G Corcoran (Oldham), D Allen (Widnes), S Gibbons (Carlow), G Haggerty (Salford), A Robinson (Coventry), S Nolan (Dublin City Exiles), W Kerr (Carlow), E Roberts (Kildare), B Treacy (Treaty City). Australian-born winger Damien Blanch will make his Ireland debut but Warrington`s former Cronulla half-back Michael Sullivan has been ruled ineligible.While Blanch, who moved from Castleford to Widnes earlier this year, qualifies through his Belfast grandparents, Sullivan has to go back three generations for his Irish heritage.Ireland coach Andy Kelly insists that all birth certificates are checked to ensure there is no breach of the rules."It is something we try to guard against," he said. "There have been one or two players we have reluctantly had to let go."If we were tempted to bend or break rules then Mick Sullivan would maybe have been one of the players we would have gone out of our way to do that for."Unfortunately, his was a great-grandparent entitlement and we stood our ground."The Lebanon side was successful in defeating Russia in Moscow last weekend, making this a clash for bragging rights at the top of the qualifying group ahead of the return matches in a year's time.Lebanon tour squad:ad Abinassif (AUB ? half back)Jai Ayoub (Bulldogs - half back)Daniel Chiha (North Sydney ? centre/2nd Row)Khalid Deeb (Newtown Jets ? 2nd row)Youssef El Helou (Club Libanais ? lock)Samer El Masri (Parramatta ? five-eighth/fullback)Adham El-Zbaidieh (South Sydney ? wing)Anthony Farah (Parramatta ? five-eighth)Rudy Hachache (LAU ? front row/2nd row)Gilbert Haydamous (Balamand ? wing)Charles Farah (Bulldogs ? front row)John Koborsi (Bulldogs ? 2nd row/centre)Ali Kourouche (Cronulla ? 2nd row/front row)Mohammed Amin Maassarani (Balamand ? front row)George Ndaira (St George IIIawarra ? hooker)Charlie Nohra (Sydney Bulls ? front row)Chris Salem (Sydney Bulls ? centre/wing)Frank Samia (Western Suburbs ? centre)Allen Soultan (Balamand ? lock)Phillip Takchi (Sydney Bulls ? lock) Sources: http://www.rli.ie, http://www.utvlive.com, http://www.lebrl.com
ARL chairman Colin Love has described the decision to strip New Zealand of its Tri-Nations points and ban Nathan Fien from the tournament as one of darkest days in the history of international rugby league.
NEW Zealand has been stripped of its two competition points and Nathan Fien barred from taking any further part in the Tri-Nations after the Rugby League International Federation ruled the Australian-born hooker ineligible to represent the Kiwis.
A decision on whether to penalise New Zealand for fielding an ineligible player in the Tri-Nations tournament has been adjourned until later today.
THE USA Tomahawks defeated a spirited Japan Samurais 54 to 18 in front of 1,200 fans at the Aston Community Center Field to advance to the next stage of the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers.In an event which featured Youth Football and Rugby League, the Tomahawks entertained a large hometown crowd with some thrilling tries and big tackles. The Samurais were courageous but in the end size and power were the deciding factor for the USA. Chilly conditions on game night and torrential rain the evening before threatened to spoil the action on game day but the Tomahawks and Samurais were able to play some exciting Rugby League and develop a whole new base of support in the Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania.Although they were defeated, the Samurais were a big hit with the vocal crowd and made many friends with their determined efforts throughout the match that resulted in a couple of long range tries from their speedy outside backs. Man of the match for the USA was Louis Tulio with great support from Marcus Vassilakopouls and Conway Maraki. The AMNRL, in association with Aston Bandits AA Youth Football, presented an entertaining day with over 2,000 fans enjoying a unique event which featured cheerleaders, t-shirts slingshot into the crowd, and skills challenges. The large crowd was able to purchase and sample some real rugby league treats, including the great Australian Pie, courtesy of sponsors Crikeys Pies based in Toledo, Ohio. The full day of great sports action featured touchdowns, tackles, pies, and tries with fans of both sports admiring the exciting skill and contact of Rugby League with a view to developing youth Rugby League programs in the future with Aston AA and Chichester AA. USA Tomhawks 54 (Louis Tulio 3, Marcus Vassilakopoulos 2, Conway Amraki 2, Cory Sheridan, Justin Zadnik, Phil Shipos, Ric Dortone tries, Marcus Vassilakopoulos 5 goals) defeated Japan Samurais 18 (Konishi Amane, Tainaka Noriyuki, Kazaoka Masanori tries, Oriyama Norihiro 3 goals). Halftime - USA 32 Japan 6. Match played at Aston Community Center Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, October 28 2006. Crowd 2,000+.USA Tomahawks1. Eric Hollingsworth2. Ric Dortone3. Jeff Preston4. Cory Sheridan5. Louis Tulio6. Conway Maraki7. Dave Niu8. Justin Zadnick9. Marcus Vassilakopolous10. Ed Woodbridge11. Chris Craig12. Kevin Deal13. Shayne Mains14. Mike Edwards15. Fred Backhaus16. Ryan Coleman17. Phil ShiposJapan Tour Squad 2006Backs:NAKAI Kazunobu (vice captain) IJUIN Kazunori ITAGAKI Masamichi USHIDA Narihisa INOUE Mitsutaka MIYAZAKI Hiroshi IGUCHI Jin OSHIMA Yasunori Forwards:KONISHI Amane (head coach) TAINAKA Noriyuki (captain) KITA Hirofumi TAKASHINO Mitsuo KAZOAKA Mansanori Benedict PENDER ORIYAMA Norihiro KONDO Ryo TAMURA Shunsuke Coaches: KONISHI Amane, Steve FREEBORNPhysio: UEDA HiroyukiSources: www.amnrl.com, www.geocities.jp/japaneserugbyleague, posters in Front Row Forum International Section