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Last Updated: Monday, 20 November 2006, 13:31 GMT
Paul sees grounds for GB optimism
By Julian Shea

Gareth Hock
The emergence of Hock was a positive sign for England
Former New Zealand international Robbie Paul says the form shown by some of Great Britain's youngsters in the Tri-Nations bodes well for the future.

The Lions lost three out of four games but Paul said it was not all bad news.

"The ones who really impressed me were debutants like Gareth Hock and James Robey, they didn't take a backward step," he told BBC Sport.

"There's a world of them running around in Super League - British rugby is in fantastic shape."

For the second consecutive year, New Zealand and Australia will contest the Tri-Nations final, after another disappointing series for the Lions.


Coach Brian Noble and his team have come in for plenty of criticism for their disappointing overall display, but Paul said the experience could be of long-term benefit to British rugby.

"The best thing for British rugby league is that this squad is very young, but also with experience in their youth," he said.

"What they'll learn form this tour will be immeasurable - individually, for their clubs and for the international team."

Paul spent the most successful years of his career playing under Brian Noble at Bradford, and said he was still full of respect for his management skills.

Robbie Paul (left) and Brian Noble (right)
Paul (left) and Noble (right) enjoyed years of success at Bradford

"Motivation is the key thing - players are taught all season long to hate and bash one another, and in a short time, you have to get them to like one another and be prepared to put their bodies on the line for one another," he said.

"Nobby's great at that, he has a way with words and talks passionately. At international level, I think that's more important than skill-based drills.

"There's a reason these players are in international arena so they don't need to be taught anything, but they need to have a solid game plan and be willing to fight for each other and their country.

"Nobby has a special way of bringing that out of people and he has my full confidence."

Sculthorpe backs cull in fixtures
19 Nov 06 |  International
Noble rues Tri-Nations schedule
18 Nov 06 |  International
Australia 33-10 Great Britain
18 Nov 06 |  International
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

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