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Waite Hoping For Fully Fit Squad
Great Britian coach David Waite hopes to have a full squad to select from for Saturday's Think! Road Safety First Test against Australia at The JJB Stadium, Wigan. The Lions saw captain Andy Farrell and loose forward Paul Sculthorpe sit out the clash with New Zealand A last Wednesday with respective knee and calf injuries.
Gary Connolly, who sat out the game with a 'flu virus, and Adrian Morley, who suffered a slight dead leg, have returned to training, and the only real doubt is over tricep injury victim Paul Wood.
"Hopefully, everyone will be available," said Waite, at a press conference on Monday.
"We will make a fairly sensible decision with all the facts at our disposal when we pick the final 17, but we would be fairly naive to risk players in the three-game Series in game one.
"Paul Wood has had some further investigation and I will know more about that when I have spoken to the medical team.
"Are (Farrell and Sculthorpe) 100% fit today? I would say no, but it is very, very likely that they will be for the weekend.
"I'd like to finalise the team (on Tuesday) if I can and announce it as soon as possible but there are a couple of niggles.
"I'd rather say this is the one we're running with and not change it than say this is the one we'd like to run and then change it. There won't be any cat and mouse.
"If our preparation is right and they (Australia) come ready to play, we should have a great Series. It should be exciting."
Farrell picked up his knee injury towards the end of the Tetley's Rugby Super League season, but has rested it since the Grand Final and returned to training at the end of last week.
"I had a good hit-out on Friday and I am confident the leg is going to be okay," he said, a view that was echoed by Sculthorpe.
The St Helens star suffered a calf strain in training and said: "It's not 100% but it's a niggly thing and that's why I didn't play in the Kiwi game.
"I'm still doing a bit of rehab at the moment and hopefully I'll be 100% for Saturday."
Waite also rejected speculation that he could add to his squad with players from England A's side, which lost 26-22 to Australia last Tuesday before defeating Russia 102-0 on Sunday.
"We have absolute faith in the side that was picked," added the coach. "The proof of the pudding will be over a three-Test Series. I have no doubt that the side we have picked contains the best available players.
"I've been super encouraged by the performance of England A, as I was last year, but let's see GB have a crack before we start suggesting that the selections were wrong.
"People in England A can force their way in but it's a terribly strange view that they could force their way before we've played the opposition yet."