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Rugby League Test: England 2-9 New Zealand

England (white shirts) huffed and puffed but couldn't score a try. Credit: PA

New Zealand outplayed England at the Olympic Stadium to keep the three-match rugby league Test series alive with an attritional 9-2 victory.

England, who were favourites to secure a series-clinching win after starting with a 26-12 triumph in Hull, defended heroically at times against their more enterprising opponents but were short of ideas in attack.

The Kiwis scored the only try through winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall two minutes into the second half and, although England thought they had drawn level with a try from James Graham controversially disallowed by the video referees, they could have no complaints about the final outcome.


Rugby League referee dies aged 26

Chris Leatherbarrow. Credit: PA

The Rugby Football League has announced the death of referee Chris Leatherbarrow.

The 26-year-old from St Helens had progressed through the ranks to become a Super League official. No details have been given about the cause of death.

In a short statement, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "We are all truly shocked and saddened by the news of Chris Leatherbarrow's untimely death.

"This is a dreadful tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with Chris' family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time."

Fellow referee Richard Silverwood led the tributes on Twitter, saying: "Truly gutted. I'll never forget the week we had on our pre-season camp to Lanzarote. Gone too soon. RIP Chris x."

Leatherbarrow, who leaves behind a young daughter, was also hailed by another referee, Robert Hicks, who wrote: "Gone too early my friend. Thinking of friends, family and especially your princess Daisy. RIP Chris Leatherbarrow your fun and smile will be missed."

Rugby League star gets NFL gig

Hayne has made the San Francisco 49ers' roster. Credit: PA

Former Australia rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has realised his dream of winning a place on the San Francisco 49ers' NFL roster.

Hayne beat out practice-squad player Kendall Gaskins for a spot in the running back rotation as the Niners cut 14 players to bring their squad down to the 53-man limit. Another back, Kendall Hunter, was placed on injured reserve.

"I am over the moon," Hayne told "I'm blessed and honoured to be a part of the 49ers franchise.

"I wanted to take a risk, and I wanted to put myself out there. This whole journey, I've never felt so alive."

Regarding the wait to hear from coach Jim Tomsula, he said: "It was the most nervous I've been in a while. It was more trying to get confirmation than anything. And then it was a sigh of relief."


Rugby League player dies after tackle

An Australian rugby league player has died after suffering injuries in a tackle during a match.

Prop James Ackerman, 25, was treated on the pitch for head injuries sustained in a tackle in the opening five minutes of Sunshine Coast Falcons' Queensland Cup match against North Devils on Saturday.

Ackerman was transported to hospital but was unable to recover from his injuries.

James Ackerman was injured in a tackle. Credit: Sunshine Coast Falcons

QRL managing director Robert Moore said: "We send our deepest condolences to James' family and friends, and the Sunshine Coast club.

"This is obviously a very difficult and traumatic time for a considerable amount of people and we ask for the privacy of the family to be respected.

"Our immediate priority is to provide support for the family as well as the players, coaches and referees who were involved in this game."

Salford owner hails work of coach Sheens

Tim Sheens has been helping out. Credit: PA

Salford owner Marwan Koukash has hailed the impact made on the Super League club by Australia coach Tim Sheens.

The 64-year-old Sheens has spent the last fortnight acting in an advisory capacity with the Red Devils as Koukash looks to turn the struggling outfit into a team of champions.

We have all benefited from Tim being here. Everybody, from chief executive Martin Vickers to assistant coach Ian Watson, we have all gained from his experience.

I have picked up a huge amount of ideas about what we are missing and what we can do to take the club forward.

We've talked about the type of players we should be signing, especially when the marquee player allowance comes in.

He is very passionate about the game and his knowledge is absolutely incredible. He has a vision for the sport for the next 10 years.

– Marwan Koukash speaking to PA Sport
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