Dragons may still face Bird battle

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The Independent Online

The Rugby League has agreed to register Greg Bird to play for the Catalan Dragons, but there is no guarantee that he will be allowed to fly into this country for their away fixtures in Super League. The Australian forward originally signed for Bradford, but was refused a British visa because he has an assault charge pending against him.

The French authorities have taken a different view, issuing him with a visa and work permit, and he has already trained with the Catalans.

The League and the UK Borders Agency have no issues with him being registered with the French club, but Bird (right) still faces another potential barrier. "There is no guarantee that he will be allowed into Britain," the RFL's communications manager, Craig Spence, said. "It will be up to each individual immigration officer."

Hull's bright start to the season is threatened by a full-back crisis. They have won all three of their games, but learnt yesterday that Todd Byrne needs a complete knee reconstruction and could be out for the rest of the season. As that will bring him to the end of his contract with the club, Hull might try to bring in a replacement sooner rather than later.

Their other full-back, Motu Tony, has not yet played this season, also because of a knee injury, but his coach, Richard Agar, insists that his problem is not as severe.

Salford's experienced centre, Willie Talau, will be out for a month with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone, but Richard Myler has been cleared of a broken bone in his hand.

The club has promised to identify and ban the supporters who threw a flare, a bottle and a toilet roll towards their coach, Shaun McRae, on Saturday. He and his chairman, John Wilkinson, were also verbally abused by a small group of fans after the heavy defeat at Castleford.

Warrington's under-pressure coach, James Lowes, has criticised fans who abused him after their loss at Wakefield. Lowes admitted, however, that the Wolves' three defeats in three games could cost him his job.

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