BLUES coach Ricky Stuart lit the fuse for another representative selection bunfight by declaring he could not guarantee Australian players a spot in the Blues side.
AUSTRALIAN national coach Wayne Bennett says New Zealand now boast the talent to match the Kangaroos on the rugby league field.
WALES were outclassed but not disgraced as they went down 26-8 to France in the under 16 international in front of almost 200 at Abercynon on Thursday evening.
It was no surprise that the visitors walked away with their first win in their third and final game of their British tour. They have been training together for months, some of them possibly years, while the young Welsh side had just three weeks to prepare for two tough internationals.
This match was a vast improvement on their previous outing, a 36-6 defeat against England on Good Friday, but just like that match at Sardis Road, they were under pressure from their visitors from the outset. Amar Sabri was first to score for the French, this after Wales' only serious touch of the ball was the kick-off.
Wales' inexperience also showed in attack. Like the performance from the country's football team the night before, the chances were there and had they been taken then the game could have been a lot closer.
While Welsh attackers failed to notice men in space when nearing the try-line, France didn't have that problem increasing their lead in the 13th minute when Alexis Rodriguez latched onto a grubber kick to place the ball under the sticks.
Just like at Sardis Road last week, Wales had passion and commitment. Refusing to give up, they finally got on the scoresheet four minutes later when Bridgend's Karl Davies grounded after running past four Frenchmen.
France hit back after man-of-the-match, Cedric Barnaguad set up Maxime Herold to score but Wales once again pulled the deficit back to six when Aberavon's Brett Thomas forced his way through just before half-time.
France started the second half in a similar fashion to the way they started the first, scoring on their first set, Auurelien Besset grounding.
Once again, Wales attempted to fight back but didn't have the killer punch shown by the visitors. However they impressed when the decided not to take the easy way out and kick an easy penalty but attempt to run it home. Their plan almost worked but Valley Cougars' Scott Collins was forced into touch just as he attempted to ground in the corner.
France completed the scoring in the 55th minute through a Mathias Pala try. Either side of this they had two tries disallowed, Martin Albert's effort was ruled out because of a forward pass while Kevin Liguoro's was cancelled out because of an off-side.
From the resulting penalty, Wales had a final chance to get back on the scoresheet but Collins' 60-metre run was brought to a holt 20 metres from the line allowing the French defence to regroup.
The French team had a long journey home as they headed back to Dover by coach straight after the match. The trip for me was a little shorter - it's the closest to home that I've ever written a match report as I live just ten minutes walk from the ground!
I have been in two minds about whether to comment on the 10th anniversary of Super League. But I am doing so because I doubt if anyone will be commenting on the 20th, 50th or 100th anniversary of the day rugby league divided...so this opportunity may never pass my way again.
THE Easter Bunny didn?t save any chocolates for the Dolphins last Sunday at Pizzey Park with all three grades succumbing to the Burleigh Bears.
A tremendous and electrifying performance from the Bears in the second half of the Premier League game against Manly was not quite enough to over come a 22-0 half time deficit to the Sea Eagles.
THIS weekend sees the final round of the Lion Foundation National Junior Competition.
TONY Rea has named a 20-man squad for the 4th round Powergen Challenge Cup game away against Hunslet.
IN this week's Bulls Eye, coach Brian Noble is joined by his opposite number Gary Price as they look ahead to Sunday's Poergen Challenge Cup 4th Round tie at Lionheart Stadium when the Bulls take on Featherstone Rovers as the Road to Cardiff begins for the Super League Clubs.
THE Rabbitohs will be without up-an-coming five-eighth John Sutton for about two months, after the extent of his dislocated sternum injury was revealed last night. It's a real shame for Sutton, who has been amongst the best performers for Souths through the first three weeks of the competition.
DRAGONS centre Matt Cooper will undergo surgery on a fractured cheekbone tomorrow on the eve of the club's round four Telstra premiership clash against the Raiders at Canberra Stadium.
Parramatta Eels 26 vs Penrith Panthers 16
IT must be one of the world's hardest occupations to pick winners at the moment, and I'm not just saying that because I'm sitting on a very shabby 13 from a possible 21 so far.
Cowboys 52 v Knights 18
Storm 50 v Broncos 4