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Friday, October 29, 1999 Published at 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK

Sport: Rugby League

Lions crash out of Tri-Series

Matt Rua: Scored the Kiwis' opening try

New Zealand 26-4 Great Britain and Ireland

The Great Britain and Ireland team has been eliminated from the Tri-Series following a resounding defeat to New Zealand at the Ericsson Stadium.

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The Kiwis now face Australia in the series final, while the Lions return home to recriminations about another poor performance, having lost their clash with the Kangaroos 42-6 last week.

It was always going to be a hard task for Andy Goodway's men, who needed a 20-point margin of victory over the New Zealanders to qualify for the final on points difference.

But despite missing key strike player Stacey Jones through injury, the Kiwis were only too happy to hand the Lions their sixth defeat in seven meetings and kick them out of the competition.

The Lions will now play the New Zealand Maoris in a friendly as a curtain-raiser for the final in Auckland next week.

Majestic Paul

Bradford Bulls' Henry Paul was in majestic form once again, orchestrating his team to a four-try victory that included scores by Matt Rua, Joe Vagana and two for Nigel Vagana.

Needing a confidence-building performance, the Lions instead turned in a dreadful first half, missing 16 tackles and making 14 mistakes on the ball in their own half.

The Kiwi's first try was a Henry Paul special, as he combined power, pace and phenomenal handling to put Rua away on 10 minutes.

Nigel Vagana scored again on 20 minutes, intercepting a Iestyn Harris pass to race in for the touchdown.

The Lions hit back just after the interval, a Sean Long 40-20 kick giving the visitors possession on the Kiwi line. Long then clung onto a superb flick infield from winger Francis Cummins to score Britain's second try of the competition. Andy Farrell missed the conversion.

Henry Paul rounded off the match for New Zealand by collecting a Keiron Cunningham chip-ahead and snaking through the flailing Britain defence to put Nigel Vagana away for an outstanding 90m try.

Cousin Joe rounded off the pummelling with a simple crash over from short range, although their was some controversy over whether or not the Lions' defence had been obstructed.

The video referee said not, sealing the New Zealanders victory and consigning the Lions to an early exit.


New Zealand: Barnett, N Vagana, Wiki, Talau, Vainikolo, H Paul, R Paul, J Vagana, Swain, Smith, Kearney, Rua, Swann.
Subs: Ngamu, Lowrie, Cayless, Kidwell.

Great Britain: Radlinski, Robinson, Senior, Connolly, Cummins, Harris, Sheridan, Laughton, Cunnigham, McDermott, Joynt, Morley, Farrell.
Subs: Long, Betts, Forshaw, Hay.

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