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Rugby, Australian Football: GB step it up

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posted on Nov, 3 2004 @ 12:05 PM
Great Britain stepped up their preparations for Saturday's crunch clash with New Zealand with a behind-closed-doors practice match against England at Salford.

Head coach Brian Noble put his squad through their paces on Wednesday against Karl Harrison's young England team, who are in training for Sunday's European Nations Cup final against Ireland.

Assistant Great Britain coach Graham Steadman said the exercise was arranged to improve co-ordination and remove the blemishes obvious in last Saturday's 12-8 defeat by Australia.

"I think you saw last week that we were a little bit rusty," said Steadman.

"We didn't get the basic fundamentals right, our kicking game put us under a lot of pressure and we've got to smarten up on the field positions we finished up in on the final plays.

"What we've seen today has been more fluency right throughout the 13 that we've been inter-changing with. The combinations are becoming a little bit more settled and there's a better team understanding.

"There's been a massive improvement in preparation in terms of our practice and I think it will set things up nicely for a much-improved performance on Saturday."

Harrison, the Salford coach who was Noble's right-hand man at Bradford, had claimed some of his players were annoyed at being overlooked for a Great Britain call-up.

Noble ignored the claims of Mark Calderwood, Sean Briscoe and Gareth Raynor in choosing Karl Pratt as a replacement for Kris Radlinski when he withdrew from the 24-strong squad with a back injury.


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