Monday, October 11, 1999 Published at 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Sport: Rugby League
Long looking to boost GB
Sean Long's form has been a revelation for St Helens
St Helens' star Sean Long is hoping his recent run of good form will rub off on Great Britain during the Tri Nations series against Australia and South Africa.
Long, who was a key component in Saints' Grand Final victory over Bradford on the weekend, has twice been voted the outstanding Super League player of the year by his fellow professionals.
He confirmed his growing reputation as a match-winner with a miraculous 18-point haul on his comeback from injury to help Saints see off Castleford in the final eliminator and followed that with another influential substitute appearance on Saturday.
A recurrence of the shoulder injury that kept him out for five weeks towards the end of the regular Super League season threatened to dash his hopes of adding to his two Test caps, but he has since been passed fit to join up with the Great Britain and Ireland squad.
"I took another bang on the shoulder as I tried to tackle James Lowes when he was going in for a try and my first thought was that I'd done it again," he said.
"I thought it was the end of the tour but I put plenty of ice on it and I'll have treatment while I'm out there. I can always play with a jab but hopefully I'll not need it."
Australia, meanwhile, will field a new centre partnership for their opening Tri Series match against New Zealand in Auckland on Friday.
Cronulla's Russell Richardson will partner Newcastle's Test debutant Matthew Gidley on Friday as coach Chris Anderson builds a fresh line-up.
R Ross; M Rogers, M Gidley, R Richardson, W Sailor; B Fittler (capt), B Kimmorley; R Howe, C Gower, D Britt, N Kosef, B Fletcher, J Smith. Replacements: D Lockyer, D Smith, J Stevens, M Vella.
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