Aspinwall a doubt for Challenge Cup final

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The Independent Online

The Wigan three-quarter Martin Aspinwall, is highly doubtful for the Powergen Challenge Cup final after tearing his hamstring in the semi-final victory over Warrington.

The Wigan three-quarter Martin Aspinwall, is highly doubtful for the Powergen Challenge Cup final after tearing his hamstring in the semi-final victory over Warrington.

Aspinwall is expected to be out for at least three or four weeks, which would put his place in Cardiff on 15 May in doubt. His immediate replacement for the match at home to the London Broncos this Sunday is the London-born Desai Williams, who has been on the fringe of the first-team squad this season and will now come in on the wing.

Although Wigan are short of players at the moment, their chairman, Maurice Lindsay, says they are prepared to lend players to the proposed club in Perpignan if they are admitted to the Super League in 2006.

"Anyone who cares for Rugby League wants the French in,'' said Lindsay. "We are ready to do anything we can to help them and I'm sure that clubs like Leeds and Bradford will do the same.''

Those clubs, plus the likes of St Helens, Hull, London and Castleford were prepared to vote Union Treiziste Catalane into the competition when the Super League clubs met earlier this week, but have held back from the majority vote they would have won in order to give clubs who have doubts about the project more time to consider the proposal.

Wigan, Bradford, Leeds and St Helens all revealed yesterday that they are strongly in favour of the French club being admitted.

Huddersfield say they still have doubts about six players being fit in time for Sunday's second Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens.

Darren Fleary, Darren Turner, Stanley Gene, Paul Reilly, Ben Roarty and Paul March all missed the defeat at Leeds last Friday and their coach, John Sharp, said: "Several of them are still hobbling and the decisions could be left very late.''

Saints plan to interview Sean Long and Martin Gleeson, the two players accused of placing bets against their own club over Easter, at the start of next week.

Michael Korkidas, Wakefield's Greek-Australian prop, has agreed an extended contract to keep him at the club until the end of the 2006 season.

The former Castleford and Warrington player Tawera Nikau has failed in his bid to win selection for New Zealand's Paralympic team. Nikau, who lost his right leg in a motor-cycle accident last year, had hoped to qualify as a javelin thrower.

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