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Carney ready for Tri clash.

Byline: Tri-nations Rugby League

Great Britain winger Brian Carney is considered a near-certainty to play in Saturday's Tri-Nations clash with New Zealand after coming through a training session unscathed.

Carney sustained a hamstring strain after last week's 23-12 win over Australia but has recovered enough for head coach Brian Noble to name him in his starting line-up again.

Speaking shortly after the Lions' arrival in Wellington the Great Britain boss said he was confident Carney would play come Test day.

"I would put him at 99% at the moment," he said.

Noble said he expects the Irishman to be untroubled by the injury which was a cause for much concern earlier in the week.

"He trained fully on Wednesday when the rest of us were getting our feet up and he went through with flying colours," he said.

Despite the head coach's confidence, he did, however, sound a note of caution that the flight from Australia could have caused yet unforeseen complications.

"Flying and hydration and all these kind of things can have an effect and he needs to get another decent practice under his belt tonight," Noble added.

When asked whether he had a contingency plan for the unlikely event Carney is ruled out Noble admitted he had but refused to elaborate.

Great Britain prop Stuart Fielden, meanwhile, has disputed Willie Mason's version of the events that earned the Australian a one-match ban last week.

Kangaroos forward Mason was suspended after flooring Fielden with a punch in the early stages of Saturday's Gillette Tri-Nations clash in Sydney, which Britain won in memorable fashion.

The punishment handed to the player has been condemned in some quarters as lenient and Fielden does not accept Mason's explanation that he was acting in self-defence.

At a disciplinary hearing this week, Mason's lawyer claimed his client was responding to verbal and physical threats from Fielden.

But Fielden said: "There have been a whole lot of untruths spoken about what happened and how much was said leading up to the incident.

"We're supposed to have had a 10-minute conversation in five seconds. It sounds like we were pen pals, the amount we were supposed to have been talking.

"As for him saying he hit before he was hit first, I would hardly hit him in the third minute, would I?

"I can take a punch with the best of them, but it doesn't matter if you're Lennox Lewis, if you get caught sweet, you go down."

Mason's antics have been one of the stories of the Tri-Nations so far. The Canterbury forward escaped further punishment for a late tackle on Britain's Sean Long in Sydney and also insulted New Zealand as they performed their haka before game one in Auckland.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2006
Words:455
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