Barrow pick up Nickle

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The Independent Online

St Helens' former Great Britain prop, Sonny Nickle, has joined the Northern Ford Premiership club Barrow on a one-year contract.

Nickle has been squeezed out after spending the final month of last season suspended for the tackle that broke the jaw of the Leeds hooker, Robbie Mears. He has five games of a nine-match ban to serve, but his signing is still a major coup for a club that has forged strong links with Saints, who have signed the Great Britain Academy three-quarter, Ade Gardner, from them.

St Helens have two new Australian props, Darren Britt and Barry Ward, arriving for next season and say they need to make cuts in their wage bill. Their football manager, Kel Coslett, said: "We have overspent our rugby budget for 2002." Doncaster have signed the Bradford prop, Gareth Handford, who spent part of last season on loan to Castleford and made 11 Super League appearances.

Tulsen Tollett, the London Broncos' utility player, has retired because of a shoulder injury. Tollett has been with the Broncos since 1996, apart from a short stint with Harlequins, and was their longest-serving player.

The Rugby League is set to announce a new sponsor for the game's oldest competition, the Challenge Cup, today, allaying fears that the end of tobacco advertising could leave it without a backer.

The support group, the 1895 Club, has proposed and is offering to help finance a series of events. The group, now rechristened 1895 International, wants to see a home nations tournament between amateur players from development areas next season, followed by a British Lions tour to Russia and Tatarstan and a "Grand Prix" series of nines tournaments in Paris, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin and London.