GB v NZ set for Knowsley Rd


Willie Poching has won another New Zealand call-up for Wednesday morning's one-off international against Great Britain in St Helens.

The 32-year-old former Vodafone Warrior was brought into the touring team last year to appear against England A. Now coach Brian McClennan has turned to him again, bringing him into his 18-man team for the Knowsley Road test.

Poching's late inclusion follows more selection problems for McClennan after losing St Helens prop Jason Cayless and his clubmate Francis Meli to injury after the weekend's English Super League matches.

Other test team contenders prop Joe Vagana (Bradford Bulls) and second rower Logan Swann (Warrington Wolves) are also unavailable through injury as is Swann's team-mate Paul Rauhihi.

Vodafone Warriors great Stacey Jones has been chosen as captain. The 30-year-old half back has regained the captaincy in the absence of Ruben Wiki and Nigel Vagana, who led the Kiwis in the Anzac Test last month.

The Kiwi 18-man team:

Vinnie ANDERSON St Helens
Monty BETHAM Wakefield Trinity
Alex CHAN Le Catalans
Henry FA'AFILI Warrington
Harrison HANSEN Wigan
Shontayne HAPE Bradford
Stacey JONES (C) Les Catalans
David KIDWELL Melbourne
Robbie PAUL Huddersfield
Willy POCHING Leeds
Ben ROBERTS Canterbury
David SOLOMONA Wakefield
Willie TALAU St Helens
Motu TONY Hull
Clinton TOOPI Warriors
Lesley VAINIKOLO Bradford

Meanwhile Great Britain coach, Brian Noble has shown faith in recently injured St Helens player Paul Sculthorpe who finally gets to captain the Lions as they take on New Zealand in the XXXX Test on his home ground at Knowsley Road.

The St Helens forward was named Britain skipper in succession to Andy Farrell last year but was forced to miss the autumn Tri-Nations Series through injury.

Noble acknowledges Sculthorpe's performances for Saints have been below par of late but he feels that could all change once the Test gets underway.

"This is the kind of game that can spark anyone up. It would certainly spark me up if I was selected for a Test jumper and being captain of my country as well." says Noble.

"You can turn your form around in one game and this might be the catalyst."

Sculthorpe's Saints team-mate Leon Pryce will revert to the left wing after Gareth Raynor's withdrawal with a shoulder injury, with Danny McGuire likely to start at stand-off.

Centre Martin Gleeson is set to be included despite missing the last two Warrington games with a broken finger, while prop Adrian Morley could start barely 24 hours after arriving in the country from Australia.

The 18-man Great Britain squad:

P Sculthorpe (St Helens, capt)
S O'Loughlin (Wigan)
T Newton (Bradford)
J Peacock (Leeds)
L Gilmour (St Helens)
D McGuire (Leeds)
J Graham (St Helens)
R Burrow (Leeds)
P Wellens (St Helens)
A Gardner (St Helens)
M Gleeson (Warrington)
K Senior (Leeds)
L Pryce (St Helens)
S Long (St Helens)
S Fielden (Wigan)
K Cunningham (St Helens)
A Morley (Sydney Roosters)
G Ellis (Leeds).

Both coaches were planning to name their match-day 17s just an hour before kick-off.

Live coverage in New Zealand will commence at 6.55am on Sky Sport 1, Wednesday 28 June 2006, 8.00pm UK time Tues 27 June.