Long leaving could boost British: Stuart - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Long leaving could boost British: Stuart

By Laine Clark 16/11/2006 08:08:30 PM Comments (0)

Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart believes the Sean Long controversy will have the same galvanising effect on the Great Britain side as the Nathan Fien debacle had on New Zealand.

Great Britain has been largely written off before its must-win Tri Nations clash against Australia at Brisbane on Saturday night after a tumultuous week capped by halfback Long's shock return home due to personal reasons.

British coach Brian Noble was forced to name an untested halves combination of Hull's Richard Horne and Leeds pivot Danny McGuire for the match the visitors must win to book a November 25 series final showdown with Australia.

However, Stuart said the British could be steeled by Long's departure just as New Zealand regrouped with a vengeance following the "granny gate" scandal that swirled around Fien.

In the game after New Zealand was docked two competition points for fielding the ineligible Fien, the Kiwis smashed Great Britain 34-4 last weekend.

Asked if he thought Britain could emulate New Zealand's stunning form reversal, Stuart told Sydney radio station 2KY: "It can, look at the Nathan Fien incident.

"When he left New Zealand I really think they rallied around each other and regrouped and I think they've instilled a bit of mettle into the New Zealand team and I'm expecting that from the Great Britain team."

Stuart also believes the British were simply unlucky in their record loss to New Zealand.

"There's unlucky incidents for Great Britain in that last game," he said.

"There were two tries taken off them that I thought were certainly tries against New Zealand last week at Wellington.

"And then they had the two kicks (from) Stacey Jones - one hit the cross bar and one (fell) back into the arms of another player.

"The week before when they played us they were really on their game but we did not finish our sets of six off.

"Therefore we didn't throw a lot of attack at them but what we did throw at them, gee they defended well.

"We've really got to look at the Pommies as an obstacle we've got to get through and come to the last game (and ensure) we're there and very healthy for the final."

Meanwhile, Australian hooker Cameron Smith agreed that Great Britain would come out swinging against the Kangaroos.

"They have a strong squad. They've replaced Sean Long with a bloke who helped Hull to the grand final (Horne) so he's playing well," Smith said.

"We've got one week to the final so we are not going to go out there and just throw the ball around.

"We want a solid game before the grand final."

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