Tue, Nov 14, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Sean Long released from Lions rugby league squad

AFP , LONDON

Great Britain half-back Sean Long has flown home from Australia and New Zealand but coach Brian Noble has denied his departure was because of disciplinary problems.

Long had left the Tri-Nations tour of Australia and New Zealand "for personal reasons," a team statement on the Rugby Football League Web site said. No replacement will be called up.

There had been reports of a possible disciplinary breach involving breaking an alcohol ban or gambling on matches, but Noble said there was no truth in these.

"We've allowed him to go home at his own request. There is no disciplinary issue," Noble told the BBC.

"On the subject of gambling there will be lots of stories coming out, but that's completely away from the truth. His wife is about to give birth and it's been weighing on Sean's mind quite heavily," Noble said.

Long's absence will be a heavy blow to British hopes of reaching the Tri-Nations final.

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