Gleeful Welsh land Challenge Cup final

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The Independent Online

Cardiff's Millennium Stadium has been confirmed as the venue for next year's Challenge Cup final.

The long-awaited foray into Wales will follow this season's second visit to Murrayfield and the staging of the final at Twickenham last year.

During the 2000 World Cup, the stadium played host to rugby league when Wales played New Zealand and the Cook Islands met the Lebanon but this will be the first time a domestic occasion has been staged at the spiritual home of Welsh rugby union, which has already become the alternative home for numerous football finals.

The decision follows strong Welsh lobbying for the final to be taken to the Principality, notably by Trevor Foster, the Welsh forward who played in three successive finals for Bradford Northern in the 1940s.

"It's wonderful news," Foster said. "It's a dream come true for me, because it's something very close to my heart. Welsh folk have played a great part in the history of our great game since 1895, so it's fitting that the final should be played there."

For this year's final, Wigan have named Kris Radlinski in their side, even though he was still in hospital with a blood infection yesterday and his prospects must remain in doubt.

Paul Johnson has recovered from a knee injury to be named on the wing in place of Brian Carney but if Radlinski is ruled out, Gary Connolly will move to full-back, Johnson to centre and Carney into the starting line-up.

Prop Harvey Howard has lost the chance to add a winners' medal to his three losers' medals, as he has not recovered from a virus. The Wigan coach, Stuart Raper, has listed six possible substitutes, including Sean O'Loughlin, who has made just two first team appearances.

The Great Britain coach, David Waite, has temporarily become the Rugby League's performance director, following the resignation of Nick Halafihi.

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