Hudson ready to leave

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The Independent Online

Ryan Hudson, named yesterday to captain the England Under-21 side in South Africa next month, is a young player in increasing demand.

Hudson, who shone at loose forward for Wakefield as they avoided relegation last season, is already a target for promoted Widnes and for Castleford who are going to a tribunal to have a price put on him next month.

"I've made up my mind that it is time to leave,'" said Hudson.

"The club has put a price of £70,000 on me, which is a bit of an obstacle, but I have offers from three clubs in Australia and I could go there on a free."

If Hudson does that, he will be following in the footsteps of the Wakefield prop, Keith Mason, who has also been named in the 21-man party to play Tests in Pretoria on the 11th and Germiston on the 18th November. Mason will then fly out to join the Melbourne Storm.

In the meantime, the Under-21's coach, John Kear, sees Hudson as the ideal man to lead the ground-breaking visit to South Africa.

"The way he led Wakefield last season and the way he performed in our training camp has shown me he is the man for the job," said Kear.

The Rochdale Hornets prop, Danny Sculthorpe has been named as vice-captain, completing a family double, with his elder brother, Paul, set to be a key man in the senior squad to play Australia.

Sculthorpe is one of four players from the Northern Ford Premiership to make the trip, the others being Whitehaven's Rob Purdham, Paul Salmon of Barrow and Leigh's record try-scorer, Neil Turley.

"It shows there is some talent coming from outside Super League. Sometimes players have to take a step backwards and, when they get regular first-team rugby, it's the making of them.

"I am really excited about this age group and I am convinced that in two or three years time we are going to have a really good Test side.

"David Waite [the Great Britain coach] will look at how they play, read my report and assess the possible future full internationals."

The squad also includes Chev Walker, who played for the full England team in last year's World Cup and this season's match against Wales and his Leeds team-mate, Rob Burrow, who was named as the Super League Young Player of the Year for 2001.

Peter Fox who coached Bradford Northern to their series of successes 20 years ago, has been appointed as football director at Wakefield who are also looking for a new coach to fill the role vacated by John Harbin.