Leuluai wants to try Tri again

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THOMAS Leuluai reckons international bosses should switch back to a Tri-Nations series.

His New Zealand side face Wales at Wembley this weekend with few expecting anything other than a comfortable win for Stephen Kearney’s outfit.

The international competition was expanded to four teams in 2009 and while Leuluai admits the move is good for the emerging nations, he reckons the old format – involving just Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain – held more excitement.

Leuluai said: “I preferred the Tri-Nations.

“For the last couple of years in the Four Nations, the game between ourselves and England has pretty much been a semi-final.

“Whoever won that made it to the final.

“I know it’s a good chance for Wales, or the other sides who have been involved, but I liked the old format more.”

Under the three-team system each side met twice – giving GB two matches against both the Kiwis and Kangaroos – before the two highest ranked contested a final.

Now, England play Australia and New Zealand just once with their other round-robin match against the qualifying nation.

They eased to a 42-4 win over Wales last Saturday, and Iestyn Harris’ outfit are now 1000-1 to win the competition.

The qualifying nations – France (2009), Papua New Guinea (2010) and Wales (2011) – have yet to win a single game between them and Wales will be long-odds to break that miserable run against the Kiwis at Wembley this week or against Australia the following weekend.

Leuluai, New Zealand’s most experienced player, may again have to settle for a bench spot at Wembley after hooker Isaac Luke avoided a suspension for a tackle on prop David Shillington last Friday which enraged the Kangaroos camp.

Luke was yesterday issued a caution by an International Match Review Panel which included ex-Warriors coach Stuart Raper.

Australia won the match at Warrington 26-12 and Leuluai said: “We had some good times in the game, but we didn’t capitalise on them, and against Australia you have to take your chances.”

England face the Kangaroos in the second game of Saturday’s Wembley double-header.

l Maguire starts at Souths – page 31