League's Melbourne success embarrasses Nine

THE continuing success of rugby league on television in Melbourne is embarrassing for Channel Nine ? or it ought to be.

Tonga, Fiji qualify for 2008 World Cup

TONGA and Fiji have both qualified for the 2008 rugby league World Cup after Tonga overcame Samoa 18-10 in the final match of the Oceania group at Headingley.

Fed Shield team lists, scorers

FEDERATION Shield matches from Headingley, 22nd October 2006.TongaFetuli Talanoa, ?Etuate (Tonga) Uaisele, Andrew Emilio, Lelea Paea, Tyrone Smith, (Ali) Feleti Mateo, Joel Taufa?ao, Fuifui Moimoi, Eliakim Uasi, Solomon Haumono, Lopini Paea, Richard Fa?aoso, William Topou. Interchange: Mickey Paea, Taniela Tuiaki, Sam Moa, Makasini Richter. SamoaTangi Ropati, Malofou Solomona, Miguel Start, George Carmont, Smith Samau, Rota Setu, Channarith Ly, Eward (Hutch) Maiava, Albert Talapeau, Shannon Stowers, Frank Winterstein, Gray Viane, McConkie Tauasa. Interchange: Chris Vaefaga, Peewee Moke, Junior Tia Kirifi, Conrad Ta?akimoeaka.Tonga 18 (Tuiaki, Haumono, Richter tries, Taufa?ao 3 goals) Samoa 10 (Ta?akimoeaka, Solomona tries, Ropati goal). Referee: S Ganson (England). Man of Match: Solomon Haumono.EnglandLee Smith, Mark Calderwood, Richard Whiting, Ashley Gibson, Danny Williams, Rob Purdham, Jamie Rooney, Ewan Dowes, Matt Diskin, Eorl Crabtree, Lee Radford, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Brett Ferres. Interchange: Chris Ashton, Nick Scruton, Matt Cook, Ryan Bailey. FranceRenaud Guigue, Olivier Charles, Damien Couturier, Teddy Sadaoui, Frederic Zitter, James Wynne, Julien Rinaldi, J?r?me Guisset, David Berthezene, Adel Fellous, Olivier Elima, Aurelien Cologni, Gregory Mounis. Interchange: Jamil Fakir, Jean-Christophe Borlin, S?bastien Raguin, Maxime Gr?s?que.England 26 (Smith, Calderwood 2, Rooney, Jones-Buchanan tries, Rooney 3 goals) France 10 (Wynne, Elima tries, Greseque goal). Referee: K Kirkpatrick (England). Man of Match: Jamie Rooney.Crowd (double header): 5,547.

World Cup Pacific Group standings

FOLLOWING the Tonga v Samoa match held today at Headingley, Leeds, the final standings after the World Cup qualifiers in the Pacific Group are as follows:

England 26 France 10

FORMER Leeds Rhinos winger Mark Calderwood made a triumphant return to Headingley with a two-try display to help England to victory in their opening Federation Shield match.The Wigan Warriors flier, who scored more than 100 tries in his time at the Rhinos, made up for the disappointment of missing out on a place in Great Britain?s Gillette Tri-Nations squad by touching down in each half as England made light work of the Catalans Dragons-dominated French team.While Calderwood provided the finishing touches, England?s architect was Wakefield Trinity WIldcats? Jamie Rooney, who scored one try and set up two others, despite playing out of position at scrum-half.Paul Cullen?s team, with an average age of just 22, made the best possible start, with full-back Lee Smith taking Rooney?s pass and cutting through a yawning gap in the French defence after only 102 seconds.Rooney kicked the first of three goals and Smith then made a try for Calderwood, haring 60 metres into space after picking up a loose ball near his own line.But the French regrouped and hit back just before half-time when debutant Australian stand-off James Wynne, who qualifies through residency, went over from dummy half after centre Teddy Saddaoui had been brought down short of the line.Substitute Maxime Greseque added the goal to make it 10-6 at the break but it was largely one-way traffic in the second half as England and Rooney in particular made their class tell.Rooney jinked his way over from first receiver within three minutes of the re-start and second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan took Matt Diskin?s pass to crash over on 52 minutes.And, as France continued to struggle in the greasy conditions, Rooney then produced a 60-metre kick with uncanny accuracy to gift Calderwood his second try.At least the French had the consolation of ending the match on a high, with Wakefield forward Olivier Elima taking Aurelien Cologni?s pass to grab a second try.Federation Shield TableEngland 2pts +16Tonga 2pts +8Samoa 0pts -8France 0pts -16Next matches:England v Tonga 29.10 at Twickenham Stoop, LondonFrance v Samoa 29.10 at Benichou Stadium, Colomiers Source: superleague.co.uk

Tonga 18 Samoa 10

MEANWHILE, Tonga became the first team to qualify for the World Cup after overcoming Samoa 18-10 in the final match of the Pacific group.

Russia 12 Ireland 50

CHRIS Bridge scored 22 points as Ireland made a confident start to their bid for a place in the 2008 World Cup with a nine-try thrashing of Russia in Moscow.Warrington Wolves stand-off Bridge's haul came from two tries and seven conversions, while Widnes full-back Gavin Dodd scored a hat-trick of tries.The Irish led 20-4 at half-time and three tries in eight minutes at the start of the second half put the game, which was shown live on the state television sports channel, beyond doubt.Andy Kelly?s men ? for whom assistant coach Barrie McDermott was in the starting line-up ? had too much experience and guile for the Russians, who had Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens acting as consultant.Ireland?s win set a new record, beating their 43-10 victory over Scotland at Navan two years ago.Dodd also broke the Irish record for the most tries in a match set by Ian Herron, of Gateshead, against Wales at Swansea in 1999 and equalled by Halifax?s Pat Weisner at Navan.Bridge?s tally of 22 points beat the previous best of 16 scored by new captain Phil Cantillon against Scotland.Cantillon opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a typical dart to the posts from five metres out and he added a second try after the break.Salford City Reds centre Stuart Littler also scored two tries in the opening half while Russia?s tries came from winger Valantin Baskakakov and centres Robert Iliassov and Roman Ovchinnikos.Ireland?s next match is against Lebanon in Dublin on November 5.Source: superleague.co.uk

Pritchard shines in Kiwi invitational

NEW Zealand backrower Frank Pritchard looks set for a quick return to the Test line-up following a standout performance in the Kiwi Invitational's 48-18 rugby league win over Australia Invitational at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

Britain cruise to warm up victory

DANNY McGuire and David Hodgson scored two tries each as Great Britain cruised past a Newcastle Select XIII 40-6 in a Tri-Nations warm-up game.

GB coaches trim tour squad

GREAT Britain have released four players from their squad ahead of their opening Tri-Nations Test against New Zealand in Christchurch on Saturday.Warrington duo Lee Briers and Ben Westwood, Salford's David Hodgson and Wigan's Mickey Higham will return home.They were part of a stand-by squad which helped Britain beat a Newcastle team in a warm-up match on Friday."Following our warm-up game, the staff have now finalised their plans for the series," said team manager Abi Ekoku."We would like thank the players returning home for their contributions to the squad and the professionalism they have shown during their time with the group," added Ekoku.Briers, who won his solitary Great Britain cap against France in 2001, will now be free to captain Wales in their World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Bridgend next Sunday.Westwood, Hodgson and Higham may be made available for England's games against Tonga and Samoa in the Federation Shield. Great Britain players remaining for Tri-Nations matches:Martin Aspinwall (Huddersfield Giants)Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos)Brian Carney (Newcastle Knights)Garreth Carvell (Hull FC), Andy Coley (Salford City Reds)Gareth Ellis (Leeds Rhinos)Stuart Fielden (Wigan Warriors)Lee Gilmour (St Helens)Martin Gleeson (Warrington Wolves)Gareth Hock (Wigan Warriors)Richard Horne (Hull FC), Sean Long (St Helens)Danny McGuire (Leeds Rhinos)Adrian Morley (Sydney Roosters)Terry Newton (Bradford Bulls)Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan Warriors)Danny Peacock (Leeds Rhinos, capt) Leon Pryce (St Helens)Gareth Raynor (Hull FC)James Roby (St Helens)Keith Senior (Leeds Rhinos)Paul Wellens (St Helens)Jon Wilkin (St Helens)Paul Wood (Warringtom Wolves)Kirk Yeaman (Hull FC)Stand by: Stuart Reardon (Warrington Wolves)Source: bbc.co.uk

Roos stage miraculous comeback in Tri-Nations 2

TRI-NATIONS Game 2 Australia 20 v New Zealand 15at Telstra Dome, MelbourneReferee: Ashley KleinMatch Summary:AUSTRALIA has snatched a miraculous victory from New Zealand following a sensational try to centre Mark Gasnier in the final minutes of tonight's Tri-Nations II clash in Melbourne.With just two minutes remaining, Australia attacked the Kiwi line through it?s halves in Johnathon Thurston and Darren Lockyer, combining with fullback Karmichael Hunt who put a flying Gasnier through a hole from close range. But it was winger Greg Inglis in the 75th minute who put Australia within reach when he ran 50 metres to score under the posts. Inglis received a flat ball from his captain Darren Lockyer before sprinting down the touchline.New Zealand were the first to score when rookie Shontayne Hape scored his first Test try in the 7th minute. The Kiwis managed to hold out the Aussies, keeping most of the possession whilst dominating the penalty count. Both sides were aggressive right from the start but it was New Zealand who dominated in defence while rushing up early on Lockyer and Thurston, leaving the Australian halves with few options.The second-half started much like the first. A break from Kiwi stalwart Stacey Jones led to a try to Iosia Soliola in the 50th minute. Soliola then bagged his second in the 66th minute after a blindside movement on the last tackle, boosting the confidence in the Kiwi camp. A win looked inevitable for the Kiwis. But Australia showed it?s class and was too good in the end.Australia have now gone two-up in this year's Tri-Nations series while New Zealand have yet to post a win. Next Saturday the Kiwis take on Great Britain at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.Scorers:Australia: 20Tries: Mark Gasnier, Greg Inglis(2)Goals: Johnathan Thurston 4/4New Zealand: 15Tries: Iosia Soliola(2), Shontayne HapeGoals: Stacey Jones 1/3Field Goals: Stacey JonesBy the Clock:Rugby League will showcase one of the most anticipated rematches of the year in Melbourne tonight when Australia takes on New Zealand at the Telstra Dome in Game II of the Tri-Nations series. Tonight?s game promises to be an aggressive one right from the start after a fiery encounter last week, which saw some sledging, big-hits and an all-in-brawl. Kangaroos prop Willie Mason withdrew from tonight?s game yesterday on the advice of team doctor Hugh Hazzard so Mark O?Meley moves into the starting side. Anthony Tupou will make his debut off the bench in place of the injured Reni Maitua ? Andrew Ryan has been promoted to the run-on team as a second-rower moving Luke O'Donnell to lock. Sam Thaiday will also debut for Australia tonight in number 19. For the Kiwi?s Shontayne Hape will start on the wing as Nathan Fien and David Fa?alogo are welcomed to the bench. Jerome Ropati moves to hooker in place of the injured Dene Halatau. The players are now making there way out on to the ground. They are now waiting for the National anthems. The Haka - which should be interesting - will follow.KICKOFF - New Zealand kicks off and gets Game II of the Tri-Nations underway. New Zealand will run left to right. 2 min: NEWS Australia is penalised for taking the unattended ball at the ruck. NZ was causght napping without a dummyhalf but Referee Klein pinned the Aussies. NZ now on the attack in the Aussie half.3 min: NEWS NZ have now recieved another penalty close to the Aussie line. They're looking dangerous.4 min: NEWS Aussie's now have the ball back after a Manu Vatuvei knock-on. 6 min: NEWS David Kidwell takes a quick tap off another NZ penalty close to the Aussie line and nearly scores, but is held up. Another set of six for NZ.7 min: TRY New ZealandShontayne Hape get's his first test try after using a nice right-step on the Aussie's before using his strength to score. Jones fails to convert. New Zealand 4-09 min: NEWS Both teams are showing aggression early on as Kiwi capatain Ruben Wiki smashes Karmichael Hunt. 13 min: NEWS New Zealand has had all the ball so far. Possession: NZ 65% AUS 35%.16 min: VIDEO REF - Matt King is disallowed a try after trying to score in the corner. Kiwi's get a scrum and Stacey Jones pulls off a bit of a fake run from the scrum gaining a penalty for his side.18 min: NEWS Soliola almost gets four points but loses the ball over the line. The Aussies look releaved.21 min: NEWS Australia recieves their first penalty of the match. They now enter the enemies territory for only the second time.22 min: NEWS More bad luck for Matt King on the right wing as another try is disallowed by the Video Refs. His leg crossed the line before he grounded the ball. Sam Thaiday is now on for Australia.24 min: NEWS Simon Mannering fumbles the ball whilst cleaning up inside the Kiwi in-goal and the Aussies earn another set of six through a goal line drop-out. 25 min: NEWS The Aussies get their second penalty and the Aussies opt to attack the Kiwi line. Australia's planned move fails and they turn the ball back over to NZ.30 min: NEWS Soliola is penalised for striping and the Kangaroos recieve a piggy back out of their own half.32 min: NEWS The Aussies are getting frustrated now. The Kiwi's are putting the pressure on by rushing up early leaving Lockyer and Thurston with few options.34 min: NEWS Matt King is dragged over the sideline by a strong defencive effort from Vatuvei.36 min: TRY AustraliaA brilliant piece of individual brilliance from the freak, Greg Inglis, sees Australia score their first try of the night. Inglis palmed off Stacey Jones and ran 20m without being touched before crossing the line.Thurston converts. Australia 6-4HALF-TIMENew Zealand were all over Australia in the early stages of this half. Australia were left with few options thanks to a strong and fast Kiwi defence on several occasions. But it was Greg Inglis who came through for Australia and registered 4 much needed points. The match has so far lived up to it's promise - that it would be a fast and aggressive match. The second-half awaits.KICKOFF - Australia gets the second-half underway. They will run left to right. 42 min: NEWS Shaun Berrigan throws a careless foward pass to O'Meley and gives a scrum to NZ, but they quickly turn it back over to the Aussies after a decoy runner gets an unexpected pass from Jones. 44 min: NEWS Hodges loses the ball after some great footwork and shortly after Australia are penalised for being off-side. 46 min: NEWS Kangaroos penalty after Civoniceva was lifted by two Kiwi players. They now have the ball inside the Kiwi's 20. 48 min: NEWS Brent Webb throws a ball foward almost gridiron style to his winger. Austrlia gets a scrum but Hindmarsh loses it soon after. NZ is fighting hard. 50 min: TRY New ZealandIosia Soliola crosses the line after a some great attacking play from the Kiwi's which put the Aussies on the back foot. Some great work from Jones, Webb and Soliola put their team infront. Jones fails to add the extras. New Zealand 8-655 min: NEWS Soliola makes a break but is tackled by a determined Thurston. 56 min: NEWS Referee Klein blows to penalties in a row to Australia. He addresses NZ skipper Wiki. Lockyer points to the posts. 57 min: PENALTY GOAL AustraliaThurston adds 2 much needed points to the scoreboard for Australia. 8 all.59 min: NEWS Brent Webb milks a penalty. NZ then lose the ball soon after but then the Aussies cant hold it either. NZ on the attack now.62 min: NEWS Karmichael Hunt leaps in to the air and makes a great take off an ordinary Jones bomb. Aussies recieve a penalty soon after. 66 min: TRY New ZealandSoliola dives over to score after recieving the ball from Mannering during some scrappy play. It's his second try of the night.Jones adds 2 points. New Zealand 14-869 min: VIDEO REF - A Karmichael Hunt try is controversially disallowed by the Video Refs due to obstruction. The Aussie fans are blowing up.71 min: NEWS Cameron Smith loses the ball in the ruck. An Asotasi hand may have interfeared.72 min: FIELD GOAL New ZealandStacey Jones plays it smart and takes his side out to a 7 point lead with 8mins to go. He strikes the ball nicely and it goes over. New Zealand 15-875 min: TRY AustraliaGreg Inglis strides over 50m to score under the posts after recieving a nice ball from Lockyer.Thurston converts. New Zealand 15-1476 min: NEWS Aussies recieve a much needed penalty after sa high shot from a NZ player. 78 min: TRY AustraliaPossibly one of the best centres in the world, Mark Gasnier, has saved Australia by scoring next to the posts from a good Karmichael Hunt ball and nice all-round Aussie play. Thurston puts another 2 on the board. Australia 20-15FULL-TIMEThe Kangaroos have pulled off a miracle. The Kiwis were almost certain winners until Gasnier crossed the line. What a game!-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Greg Inglis (Kangaroos)2 - Iosia Soliola (Kiwis)1 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Kangaroos)-----------------------------------------

French 18-man side v England

FRANCE Rugby League are going into their opening Federation Shield fixture against England at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds on Sunday (Kick ?off 5.45pm) confident that they can win.French team manager Gilles Dumas speaking from the team?s headquarters in France said: ?We?re very motivated for the match against England on Sunday.?Playing against England at any time is very special and our players have set their hearts on playing well against the English this time as well as in the rest of the tournament.?Last year England beat us 22-12 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and it was a very close encounter. This year we hope to win?.Dumas, a former French international stand off half, added: ?It?s also very exciting for the French team to play against both Samoa and Tonga in the tournament.?We?re not used to playing against either country and, because many of their players have played in Australia?s National Rugby League, it?s going to be a fruitful experience for our players. The Samoans and Tongans will be robust and play a strong game.?I believe that the Federation Shield is great preparation for all four countries as they prepare for the 2008 World Cup?It gives the Head Coaches an opportunity to assess the level of progress their teams are making as well as the players having the experience of competing against players they do not know.?The French players are really excited about taking part in the Federation Shield and they can?t wait to start playing.?Renaud Guigue (Carpentras) Olivier Charles (Villefranche) Damien Couturier (Hull KR) Teddy Sadaoui (Carcassonne) Frederic Zitter (UTC)James Wynne (Toulouse) Julien Rinaldi (Harlequins) J?r?me Guisset (Catalans, captain) David Berthezene (Catalans) Adel Fellous (Catalans) Olivier Elima (Wakefield) Aurelien Cologni (Lezignan) Gregory Mounis (Catalans) Jamil Fakir (Catalans) S?bastien Raguin (Catalans) Jean-Christophe Borlin (St Gaudens)Maxime Gr?s?que (Pia) Matthieu Griffi (Catalans) Coach: John MonieSource: www.therfl.co.uk

More Superleague player movements

TODAY, a summary of player movements so far for the other six Superleague clubs, as well as relegated Castleford for good measure. Remember, for all the latest signing details as they happen, see the forum thread maintained by "Evil Homer" by clikcing "here".

England finalise side for France clash

SEVEN players from Leeds Rhinos have been included in the England team to face France at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Sunday (Kick off 5.45pm).

Tongan side for Samoa clash

TWO Harlequins RL stars, Solomon Haumono and Tyrone Smith, are included in the Tongan team to face Samoa in the opening match of Rugby League?s newest international competition, the Federation Shield, at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds on Sunday (Kick off 3.45pm).

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