Bradford fire Hudson following two-year drugs ban

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The Independent Online

Bradford say they have been left with no choice but to sack their hooker, Ryan Hudson, without him playing a single game for them.

The former Castleford and Yorkshire captain, who was a member of Great Britain's squad in 2003, was banned for two years by the Rugby League this week after testing positive for a banned steroid. He plans to appeal against the length of his suspension.

"As everyone in rugby league knows, we have always taken a rigorous stand on this issue," said the Bulls' chairman, Chris Caisley. "We are sad for Ryan Hudson and the dreadful impact his action has had on a burgeoning career, but our position on these matters is absolutely definite and he left us with no room for manoeuvre."

Wigan go to the London Broncos today knowing that their captain, Andy Farrell, who had a medical this week on his injured knee, will shortly be departing for rugby union.

Apart from Farrell and their other long-term casualties, Wigan are without Danny Orr with a shoulder injury, so Kevin Brown will move to his favourite stand-off role.

The Broncos are without Rob Purdham with a broken hand, but have John Kirkpatrick and Dave Highton, available again after injury.

In tomorrow's only Super League game, Michael Eagar is back in Hull's squad against Wakefield after twice breaking his arm last season, but their coach, John Kear, is delaying Stephen Kearney's debut until next Friday at Bradford.

Wakefield, who like Hull have won three of their first four games, are likely to be unchanged.

In tomorrow's Challenge Cup ties, the veteran coach Kevin Ashcroft comes out of a 13-year retirement to guide the Blackpool Panthers against Toulouse. Mark Lee was sacked this week after disagreeing with a director over playing matters.

"If people want to call me a dinosaur, that's up to them," said the 60-year-old former Great Britain hooker, who has been appointed team manager. "But remember that dinosaurs ruled the world for millions of years."

As for the other French clubs in the third round, St Gaudens face a difficult task at Batley, but Pia and UTC will fancy their chances at the London Skolars and Gateshead respectively.

Of the two Russian representatives, Strela Kazan are at Keighley, while Lokomotiv Moscow visit in-form Swinton.