Banned Cowie is ruled out of cup tie

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Rugby League


The Wigan prop forward, Neil Cowie, will miss the Regal Trophy semi- final against Leeds tomorrow after being suspended for one match for punching. Cowie was sent off during the Boxing Day derby against St Helens, an incident that led to him being publicly criticised by his coach, Graeme West.

His absence and the likelihood that Kelvin Skerrett will be ruled out by an ankle injury means that Scott Quinnell could be handed the most responsible role so far in his rugby league career by being picked alongside Terry O'Connor in the front row.

The relief for Wigan is that Cowie will be available for the final, if they win tomorrow, and for the completion of the formality of the championship.

The Bradford Bulls' two new Australian recruits, Graeme Bradley and Jeremy Donougher, have arrived at the club in time for tonight's match at Sheffield Eagles. Bradley, a 31-year-old centre from St George, and Donougher, a 26-year-old forward from South Sydney, are both named for the visit to the Don Valley Stadium.

Their new coach, Brian Smith, who coached both players at St George, said: "These are big signings for Bradford, both physically and in terms of experience."

Smith now has 20 players in his full-time squad, but is still aiming to add several more to that number, possibly from within the club, although the Bulls remain interested in Hull's Test forward, Steve McNamara.

The Castleford coach, John Joyner, is confident of signing one of McNamara's team-mates, the full-back, Richard Gay, after making an offer of around pounds 100,000. Gay, aged 26, has, like McNamara, spent the whole of his professional career at Hull and has been twice capped for England.

Leeds, preparing for their Regal meeting with Wigan, have denied making a move for the player who would be displaced by Gay's arrival, Jason Flowers. "I don't know who keeps on inventing all this rubbish," said the Leeds coach, Dean Bell. "We are not interested in the player at all."

Bell is particularly angry that the prop Harvey Howard has been mentioned as part of a possible exchange deal.

"He is a very important member of our squad and we could not afford to lose him," said Bell of Howard, who has been named as one of Leeds' two substitutes against Wigan.