8 Aussies in World XIII

The tame nature of the Lions' exploits during the Tri Nations series has been underlined by the presence of just one Great Britain player in the 2006 Rugby League World XIII that is dominated by champions Australia.

Great Britain captain Jamie Peacock, whose lead was followed by too few of his team-mates in the four matches against Australia and New Zealand, is included in the second row, just a week after being named the world's best forward at the annual Golden Boot awards.

Although Peacock was unable to wield the same level of influence at his new club Leeds in 2006 that had gained him a formidable reputation during his years at Bradford, the 28-year-old was easily Britain's best player on a tour which exposed many of the shortcomings of Super League.

The Lions' approach all too often appeared laboured and slow compared to that of Australia and New Zealand, who booked their place in the final with a record 34-4 victory over Brian Noble's team.

Peacock is joined in the form team by eight Australians and four Kiwis, including full-back Brent Webb, who will line up alongside him at Leeds next season.

Australian players fill the rest of the back line with their captain Darren Lockyer, the 2006 Golden Boot winner, partnering Catalans Dragons scrum-half Stacey Jones, at half-back.

Jones announced his retirement from international rugby after New Zealand's 16-12 golden point defeat to Australia last Saturday, as did Kiwis' captain Ruben Wiki, who is joined at prop by team-mate Roy Asotasi.

One player who can consider himself unfortunate to miss out on a back row spot is Gareth Ellis, the Leeds forward who delivered four accomplished displays during the Tri Nations. Instead, Peacock is joined at the back of the pack by Australians Nathan Hindmarsh and Ben Kennedy.

The team is selected by rugby league journalists from England, France, New Zealand and Australia and is based on form throughout the year, which explains the presence of Irishman Brian Carney on the wingers' short-list that also includes Hull's Gareth Raynor.

A full list of the players who received votes is featured in Rugby League World magazine, which is published today.

2006 RL World XIII: Brent Webb (NZ); Matt King (Aus), Mark Gasnier (Aus), Justin Hodges (Aus), Greg Inglis (Aus); Darren Lockyer (Aus), Stacey Jones (NZ); Ruben Wiki (NZ), Cameron Smith (Aus), Roy Asotasi (NZ), Jamie Peacock (GB), Nathan Hindmarsh (Aus), Ben Kennedy (Aus).

Source: Yorkshire Post (www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk)

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