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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 06:50 GMT
Long leaves GB Tri-Nations tour
Sean Long
Long had been one of the Lions' star performers
Great Britain's Sean Long has flown home from the tour of Australia and New Zealand, with coach Brian Noble denying reports of disciplinary problems.

A team statement said Long, whose partner is heavily pregnant, had returned home "for personal reasons".

But the BBC's Dave Woods says there are allegations that Long broke a team alcohol ban on a flight on Sunday.

Noble said: "We've allowed him to go home at his own request. There is no disciplinary issue."

Team officials say that no replacement will be called up for Long, who was outstanding in Britain's 23-12 win over Australia in Sydney last week.

Early reports from Australia claimed that St Helens half-back Long had been accused of gambling on matches in the Tri-Nations series.

But Noble said: "On the subject of gambling there will be lots of stories coming out, but that's completely away from the truth.

"His wife is about to give birth and it's been weighing on Sean's mind quite heavily."

Woods said that Long had been seen inebriated on the flight from Wellington to Sydney, the day after the Lions had been thrashed 34-4 by New Zealand.

But Noble said: "There were no rollockings dished out yesterday on the plane. My views were known, their views were known. That was the end of the matter."

St Helens coach Daniel Anderson backed his player, saying: "When a person says personal reasons, just about everyone seems to try and scratch around the surface because they don't believe it.

"But I am totally supportive of him. If we were not to support him and he has got genuine personal reasons - as I think he has - then I think this club would be condemned."

Britain need to avoid defeat against Australia in Brisbane this Saturday to make the Tri-Nations final.



SEE ALSO
GB's Long 'discusses Aussie move'
12 Nov 06 |  St Helens
New Zealand 34-4 Great Britain
11 Nov 06 |  Rugby League
Australia 12-23 Great Britain
04 Nov 06 |  Rugby League
New Zealand 18-14 Great Britain
28 Oct 06 |  International
Long rules out switching to union
20 Sep 06 |  Rugby League
Saint or sinner
28 Aug 06 |  St Helens


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