Final reprieve for Fairbank

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The Independent Online
Rugby League:

Bradford Bulls' veteran forward, Karl Fairbank, has been cleared for a first Challenge Cup final appearance later this month when he was banned for one match last night.

The 32-year-old former Great Britain forward will miss this Sunday's Wembley rehearsal at St Helens but will be free from suspension in time for next Friday's match against Wigan and the final on 27 April.

Fairbank was sent off for a high tackle at Sheffield Eagles on Good Friday - a dismissal which he feared could cost him his last chance of playing in a Cup final.

Halifax, beaten in their first three Super League matches, will be without Paul Anderson and Graeme Hallas for the next two matches after they were suspended by the League's disciplinary committee last night.

Anderson was sent off for a high tackle in the Good Friday match against Oldham and Hallas was later ordered to appear on a similar charge after an appraisal of the video of an incident in which Oldham's Rob Myler had his nose badly broken.

Hallas and Anderson will start their suspensions by missing tonight's match at Warrington, who have agreed to sell Michael Ford to Wakefield Trinity. Kelly Shelford replaces him at scrum-half, with Mateaki Mafi and Gary Chambers also coming into the starting line-up. Mark Jones and Salesi Finau are dropped.

Leeds have announced the first of three overseas signings that they hope to make within the next week. He is Neil Picchi, a 21-year-old loose forward from Hawkes Bay, who has also played for the New Zealand Maoris.

Picchi has agreed a one-year contract with Leeds, who are also being linked with another member of last season's Maori side, the former Hull Kingston Rovers half-back, Dean Clark.