Leuluai suffers broken jaw

Thomas Leuluai's Test career could be over
Thomas Leuluai's Test career could be over

Thomas Leuluai suffered a fractured jaw as New Zealand were held to a dramatic 18-18 draw by Scotland in the Four Nations.

The Wigan-bound player was left nursing a double-fracture after leaving the game in Workington midway through the second-half.

“Thomas Leuluai has broken his jaw in two places,” confirmed coach David Kidwell. “We’ve got a duty of care to make sure everything is alright with him and his family.”

It puts a question-mark over whether he will be fit for the start of the new Super League season with Wigan, and possibly the World Club Challenge against Cronulla, though a recovery timeframe is likely to be known within days.
The injury could end his long Test career, with Leuluai saying ahead of the Four Nations it was likely to be his last international tournament.

England need a draw or win against Australia in London on Sunday to reach the following week’s final at Anfield.

Scotland, coached by Wiganer Steve McCormack, became the first ‘fourth nation’ to claim a point since the concept was introduced. Warriors winger Lewis Tierney scored one of their tries.

“I’m as proud as anything,” McCormack said. “Not only that never-say-die attitude from our lads but just the manner in which we got that result.

“We were pretty busted after the England game. We’ve probably only had about 40 minutes training in the last seven days and people like Danny shouldn’t have even played in that game. You can’t under-estimate what these players have done.

“We’re also a bit disappointed that we didn’t win. I thought the players were sensational.

“We’ve played against the world’s best team tonight with a young team.”

The result means that Australia are guaranteed a place in the Anfield decider while the Kiwis need a Kangaroos victory over England at the London Stadium on Sunday to join them.

New Zealand led for long periods and thought they had clinched victory when centre Gerard Beale scored two tries in three minutes to restore their advantage.

However, Issac Luke was unable to master the swirling wind to leave the door open for the Scots, who needed no second invitation.

“Scotland played well,” said Kiwis coach David Kidwell. “They played to the conditions and we got away with the draw.

“I thought after we scored that first try, we gave them a bit of hope by trying to offload and they took advantage of it.

“They had more energy at times and a couple of penalties of the fifth tackle really hurt us.

“I’m really proud of the way the boys got back into the game with those two tries but Scotland really deserved their draw against us.”

Meanwhile, McCormack launched a passionate defence of the decision to stage the game at Workington’s Derwent Park after Kidwell claimed the playing surface was not up to Test-match standard.

“We are always looking to grow the game and we want to be part of that but we’ve got some world-class players out there and we need some world-class fields to make sure that this game and Test match football stays at the pinnacle,” Kidwell said.

“That’s a bit disrespectful,” McCormack said. “This venue and this area is a fantastic hotbed for rugby league. If anybody had seen how hard the people had worked to get this game on, sometimes it’s a bit of a forgotten area. We couldn’t have been treated any better.

“We played in the World Cup at Rockhampton (in Queensland) in 2008 in the World Cup. What do you call a world-class stadium? You’ve got passionate fans and a great atmosphere. There’s no better place to play rugby league.”