Blood infection makes Radlinski serious doubt for final

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The Independent Online

Kris Radlinski has become Wigan's major doubt for Saturday's Challenge Cup final after being rushed to hospital with a blood infection.

The Great Britain full-back was taken ill on Monday night, after a small cut on his toe became infected. "He's on an intravenous drip and he's going to be there for a couple of days, so he's got to be in doubt," admitted the Wigan coach, Stuart Raper, who had hoped to finalise his squad tomorrow.

"Kris is an integral part, because he does so many good things for us, but it's been a squad scenario all year and, if he's out, other players will come in and do a good job," added Raper, whose options would be limited, although he could move Gary Connolly or David Hodgson out of the three-quarter line.

Connolly remains one of Wigan's other doubts, however, along with Paul Johnson and David Furner, who both have knee injuries, and Terry O'Connor and Harvey Howard, who both missed training yesterday through illness. "We're in a bit of strife," Raper admitted.

Wigan's Cup final opponents, St Helens, could go into the match still not knowing whether they or their coach, Ian Millward, are to be punished for fielding a team of reserves at Bradford last Saturday.

The Bradford chairman, Chris Caisley, has demanded that the Saints should be fined heavily for bringing the game into disrepute. The Rugby League has ordered the Saints to explain their actions in detail by tomorrow, in order to decide whether they should face a tribunal.

The club's chief executive, Brian Kelly, has called that request "ill-timed" and offered to provide evidence by next Wednesday. "I will not let this great club be the subject of a kangaroo court," he said.

The League, which confirmed yesterday that it ignored Millward's invitation to examine his injured players before the match, will also decide whether he should face an inquiry into his comments.

"We were never invited and we don't respond to invitations through the press," said a spokesman.

The Super League's bottom club, Warrington, have sacked two players after their 58-4 defeat to Wigan last Friday. David Plange, the newly-appointed head coach, has told Kevin Crouthers and Dale Cardoza that they can leave on free transfers.

"I don't feel they displayed the qualities necessary to wear the Warrington shirt," Plange said. "I want to show that I am not going to sit back and let players who display lack of passion and commitment to the club carry on."

The Warrington hooker, Jon Clarke, has been cited for a tackle on Mark Smith in that match and will face a disciplinary hearing today, along with the Leeds winger, Karl Pratt, who has been charged with striking Wakefield's Damon Keating, who spent the night in hospital with facial injuries. Pratt's team-mate, Keith Senior, was initially blamed for the incident.

London's in-form scrum-half, Dennis Moran, will be out for four weeks with ankle ligament damage and the Broncos are looking for a short-term replacement.

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