Betham drafted into NZ qquad


Wakefield captain Monty Betham is poised to make a return to the test arena after being called into New Zealand's rugby league squad to face Great Britain.

The 28-year-old former Warriors hooker and former test captain hasn't played for his country for three years, but has joined the 19-man squad as a replacement for injured Warrington back-rower Logan Swann.

From the original 22, uncapped NRL players Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), and Greg Eastwood (Brisbane Broncos) did not travel.

Moimoi and Soliola were not released by their clubs, and Eastwood was initially cleared by the Broncos but suffered a hamstring tear last Friday night.

Although Swann, with 29 test appearances, was the most experienced of the forwards and Fa'afili is the only Kiwi to score three tries against Great Britain during 99 years of test rivalry, they were no certainties to make the starting line-up.

David Kidwell, Ali Lauitiiti, David Solomona, and Vinnie Anderson might all have rated ahead of Swann for back-row positions.

Fa'afili was competing for wing selection with Lesley Vainikolo and Francis Meli.

Veteran utility back Robbie Paul holds the key to the final team selection. Paul and Clinton Toopi are options for the fullback position, while Paul and Canterbury Bulldogs reserve grader Ben Roberts are vying to partner Stacey Jones in the halves.

Brian McClennan has also placed Hull KR's former Castleford prop or second rower Michael Smith, who won his only cap against France in 2004, on standby.

Possible line-up: Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli, Willie Talau, Shontayne Hape, Lesley Vainikolo, Ben Roberts, Stacey Jones (c), Iafeta Paleaaesina, Motu Tony, Jason Cayless, David Kidwell, Ali Lauitiiti, Vinnie Anderson. Interchange: Robbie Paul, David Solomona, Alex Chan, Monty Betham. 18th man: Harrison Hansen.