Hill joins Wigan's relegation battle

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The Independent Online

Hull have re-signed their captain, Richard Swain, but have allowed one of their rising talents to join struggling Wigan.

The former New Zealand hooker was expected to retire at the end of this season, by which time he will be 31, but the arrival of Peter Sharp as the new Hull coach has persuaded him to carry on for another year. The two previously worked together at Melbourne.

"Richard is a fantastic player and his contract extension will be great news for our supporters," said the club's chief executive, David Plummer.

Meanwhile, Hull have released their 21-year-old second-rower Danny Hill. The England Academy international has broken into Hull's first-team squad this season but has now agreed to join Wigan on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

"Danny is a quality player who will be a great addition to our squad," said the Wigan coach, Brian Noble.

The league leaders, St Helens, have suffered another injury blow with the news that their Samoan forward, Maurie Fa'asavalu, will be out for six weeks following damage to a knee ligament. Fa'asavalu suffered the injury in Saints' first defeat of the season, at Huddersfield on Saturday.

"We were very concerned after the game that he had done his anterior [cruciate ligament], which would have been a season-ending injury, but he's had a scan and it's comparatively good news," his coach, Daniel Anderson, said yesterday.

Anderson also has Leon Pryce doubtful for Friday night's game against Warrington, but Jamie Lyon and Jason Cayless are expected to return, along with Sean Long.

"I'd like to think we'll put a strong team on the field on Friday but I won't risk anyone with a Challenge Cup game the following week," said Anderson, who has confirmed an interest in signing New Zealand forward Roy Asotasi from Australian club Canterbury. "I'd like to coach him again but it's hard to get players to change clubs," Anderson said.

Russell Smith, the only British referee in Australia's NRL, has been dropped from first grade after complaints about his handling of last week's game between Wests Tigers and Manly, after which Manly coach Des Hasler accused him of not knowing the rules.

Wakefield's Jamie Rooney has been suspended for two matches for striking and Warrington hooker Jon Clarke has been suspended for one game for a dangerous tackle.

Harlequins have extended the contract of their injured utility back, Paul Sykes, for two years and given a two-year full-time deal to 18-year-old Tony Clubb.

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