Long Leaves Tri-Nations Squad

Long left the Great Britain training camp in Manly on Monday morning, and it is thought that his departure may have something to do with his heavily pregnant girlfriend in this country.

A statement by Great Britain read: "The player Sean Long has left the Great Britain training camp based and has returned home to the UK for personal reasons. He took a flight from Sydney airport late this afternoon."

“No replacement player will be called up and the squad will now continue preparations for the match against Australia at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane this Saturday.”

Some reports from Australia are that Long has been sent home after gambling on Tri-Nations matches, in a repeat of the incident that saw him and Martin Gleeson suspended in 2004.

Conflicting reports have suggested that Long is suffering from homesickness, that he was not able to cope with the record 34-4 loss at the hands of New Zealand, or even that he was drinking heavily after the game.

However, none of these stories have been confirmed and it would be deeply unfair to assume the worst at such a preliminary stage.

Long had what could have been his best game in the Great Britain shirt against Australia last week when the Lions recorded a 23-12 victory in Sydney, and was a crucial part of the Lions’ bid to reach the final.

The tourists need a win or draw in the final game of the league stage against the Kangaroos on Saturday if they wish to progress to the title decider.

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