Botham adds new chapter to answer Wigan's SOS call

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The unique sporting career of Liam Botham is set to take another twist as he answers an emergency call from injury-hit Wigan.

Leeds have released the second-rower - the bearer of one of British sport's most illustrious surnames - and he has joined Wigan for the rest of this season, with the prospect of a contract for next year if he makes a success of the move.

It will be the 27-year-old Botham's third club in his third professional sport, having played cricket for Hampshire and rugby union for, among others, Newcastle Falcons while he first sampled rugby league with Bradford.

He has made rapid progress in his new sport this season, winning himself a regular place in the Rhinos' line-up, until falling from favour recently.

"At this stage we were unable to offer Liam a place in our top 20 for next season and he has requested a release so that he can secure his future elsewhere," said the club's chief executive, Gary Hetherington, explaining the decision to waive the remaining six months of his contract.

That elsewhere is the JJB Stadium, where extra manpower in the pack became a priority this week with the news that Paul Prescott has become the fifth forward unavailable for the rest of the season.

Botham will go straight into Wigan's side to play Hull tomorrow night. The Wigan coach, Ian Millward, has seen his team slip out of Super League's top six and said earlier this week that he was down to his last 17 fit players.

Wigan have denied receiving any approach from Sale for Kris Radlinski. The Great Britain full-back was approached by the Rugby Football Union last year, at the same time as their successful move for Andy Farrell, but rejected their overtures.

Radlinski is another injury victim, thought to be out of action for the next two months with a hamstring problem, and still has a year and a half on his contract.

Sean Long, St Helens' former Wigan scrum-half, has denied any intention of following Millward to the JJB by rejoining the club. "I've got two years left on my contract here and, hopefully, if the board agrees, I can extend that and finish my career here," he said.

Luke Davico, one of Wigan's missing forwards this season, is considering coming out of retirement to play for the Melbourne Storm in his native Australia. Davico went home after tearing a pectoral muscle in a friendly and was thought to have retired.

Bradford are unlikely to appeal against Leon Pryce's three-match suspension after he was sent off for a reckless high tackle against St Helens last weekend.

The Bulls have Michael Withers and Jamie Langley back in their squad for their match at Huddersfield on Saturday.

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