Bedford sign Ireland's Paddy Johns

Rugby Union
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The Independent Online
Bedford, the Third Division champions, have signed Ireland's Paddy Johns, and are negotiating with the former England hooker Brian Moore and the Welshmen Nigel Walker and Mike Rayer. The club, expected to confirm Geoff Cooke as director of rugby, last night agreed to become a public limited company and accept a pounds 2.25m deal with the boxing promoter Frank Warren's Sports Network Europe.

The England winger Jon Sleightholme's summer sojourn with Sheffield Eagles looks likely to be blocked by Bath. "Jon is about to sign a new contract," John Hall, Bath's director of rugby, said. "He will be committed to an intense programme of preparation."

Pat Whelan, the Ireland manager, has named a summer training squad that includes 10 uncapped players: Dominic Crotty, Rob Henderson, Steve McIvor, James Topping, Brian Walsh, Shane Byrne, Paul Cunningham, Paul Flavin, Angus McKeen and Malcolm O'Kelly.

IRELAND SUMMER TRAINING SQUAD: Backs: J Bell (Northampton), P Burke (Bristol), D Crotty (UCC), M Field (Malone), S Geoghegan (Bath), R Henderson (Lon Irish), N Hogan (Terenure Coll), D Humphreys (Lon Irish), S Mason (Richmond), S McIvor (Garryowen), C Savermittto (Sale), J Topping (Ballymena), R Wallace (Garryowen), B Walsh (Cork Cons), N Woods (Blackrock). Forwards: S Byrne (Blackrock Coll), A Clarke (Northampton), V Costello (St Mary's Coll), P Cunningham (Garryowen), D Corkery (Bristol), J Davidson (Dungannon), P Flavin (Blackrock Coll), G Fulcher (Lon Irish), A Foley, M Galwey (both Shannon), E Halvey (Saracens), H Hurley (Old Wesley), P Johns (Dungannon), D McBride (Malone), A McKeen (Lansdsowne), M O'Kelly (St Mary's Coll), N Popplewell (Newcastle), P Wallace (Blackrock Coll). Young players to attend: J Cunningham (Dublin Univ), B O'Meara (Cork Cons), C McEntee (Lansdowne), K Dawson (Bangor), D Hickie (St Mary's Coll).

TOUR MATCHES: North Sydney: New South Wales 27 Wales 20. Hamilton: Waikato 39 Scotland 35.

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