After the superb 23-12 win at Aussie Stadium last weekend the Lions now look to secure their place in the final by avoiding defeat in the "Caketin" tomorrow morning. Coach Brian Noble has been forced into changes. Sean O'Loughlin has been ruled out by an alleged leg muscle strain while Brian Carney has failed to recover from the hamstring strain he picked up while chasing Greg Inglis last Saturday.|
It all means a bit of a reshuffle for the Lions. Leon Pryce reverts back to the wing to cover Carney to enable Danny McGuire to return to the starting line up at stand off. The bigger reshuffle comes in the pack, Adrian Morley comes into the run on side at prop, captain Jamie Peacock moves back to the second row and Gareth Ellis will now lock the scrum in the abscence of the Wigan captain. Garreth Carvell gets the call to fill Morley's shoes on the interchange bench.
The GB team is: Wellens, Pryce, Senior, Yeaman, Raynor, McGuire, Long, Fielden, Newton. Morley, Peacock, Hock, Ellis. Interchange: Roby, Gilmour, Wilkin, Carvell
The Kiwis are still smarting from "Fiengate" which saw them stripped of the two competition points they picked up when defeating the Lions 18-14 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch a fortnight. Selwyn Bennett has been forced to quit his job as chariman of the NZRL and its been a couple of embarrassing weeks for the administrators of the game in the "Shakey Isles".
The Kiwis have made six changes from the victory over the Lions with Shontayne Hape, Steve Matai, Dene Halatau and David Fa'alongo coming into the side with Nigel Vagana moving from centre to stand off. Frank Pritchard is dropped to the interchange bench with Tame Tupou, Jerome Ropati and Jason Cayless missing out completely.
The Kiwis actually played a game last weekend, picking up a 34-4 victory over a NZ Residents side in Greymouth. Captain Ruben Wiki coming off the bench to grabt the last try of the game.
The Kiwi line up is: Brent Webb, Shontayne Hape, Iosia Soliola, Steve Matai, Manu Vatuvei, Nigel Vagana, Stacey Jones, Ruben Wiki, Dene Halatau, Roy Asotasi, David Kidwell, Simon Mannering, David Fa'alongo. Interchange: Motu Tony, Nathan Cayless, Adam Blair, Frank Pritchard.
Brian Noble was wary his Lions side was facing a "wounded beast" this weekend when spoke to the press in Wellington on Thursday. He said "The New Zealanders have themselves been aggrieved and have got a chip on their shoulder over the way they've been treated," he said. So everyone's been talking about New Zealand being focused on what they need to achieve to make sure they're still in this competition. But we're pretty determined to go there and perform better than we did the first time we were in New Zealand. We have got to stay at the right end of the field and we have got to stop giving the Kiwis reasons to score on us."
The game is being held at the WestPac Stadium in Wellington, known locally as the Cake Tin it has hosted both Rugby Union and Cricket One Day International Matches previously. It is also home of the Hurricanes in the Super 14 and Wellington in the Air New Zealand Cup. It was opened on March 1st 2000 with a 34,000 capacity and has also hosted the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, WWE Wrestling and the Rolling Stones.
Sporting Odds are offering £30 of free betting on rugby league for new registrants and all your betting through them goes to help to keep this site alive. They are giving GB a four point start, and with that margin we may well be worth a punt.
The game kicks off at 7am and is live on SKY Sports. Their broadcast begins at 6.30am with a repeat at the more sociable hour of 3pm.