That move will be greeted with incredulity by the British representatives at the meeting, who still recall the embarrassment caused to the game by the cancellation of the planned World Nines in Johannesburg last month. Britain also regards any arguments over the World Cup as being too late.
"It's a done deal as far as we are concerned, but South Africa are welcome to make a bid for 2002," said the Rugby League's chief executive, Neil Tunnicliffe. He will also want to end any doubts over the Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand this year. The Kiwis have expressed unease about that tournament and Britain could call their bluff by suggesting an Ashes series instead.
The Gateshead prop, Andrew Hick, has become the first player from the new club to be summoned to a disciplinary hearing, over an alleged trip in their inaugural game against Leeds.
The referees' director, Greg McCallum, warned coaches yesterday that lying-on in the tackle, which has crept back into the game this season, will not be tolerated.
Britain's leading referee, Russell Smith, has had to pull out of tonight's Varsity match at Richmond because he has flu. Another professional referee, Robert Connolly, takes over for a match in which Cambridge hope to continue their run of six wins over Oxford in their last seven meetings.
Huddersfield's Great Britain scrum-half, Bobbie Goulding, does not have a broken arm as had been feared.Reuse content