League's solution helps out St Helens

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The Independent Online

The Rugby League believes it has found a way around its conflict with St Helens over when the club's Grand Final players should fly out to pre-World Cup camps.

The Rugby League believes it has found a way around its conflict with St Helens over when the club's Grand Final players should fly out to pre-World Cup camps.

England's Sean Long and Paul Sculthorpe, and Keiron Cunningham and Anthony Sullivan of Wales, were supposed to travel to Florida and South Africa respectively on Sunday, the morning after the season's climax against Wigan at Old Trafford.

Saints want them at their celebration day at Knowsley Road instead, causing a disruption to both countries' World Cup plans. But now the RFL's director of rugby, Greg McCallum, has suggested a compromise, which would involve the four players flying out on Monday morning.

"It is not a climb-down, but the players were in an untenable position," he said. "We still believe that we have been right to insist that international football takes precedence, but we have been concerned about the players and we have listened very carefully to what they have had to say."

Saints' players were unhappy at having to leave the morning after last year's Grand Final victory. Under the proposed compromise, they will be able to join their team-mates - several of whom are leaving the club - in thanking the fans before catching their planes to join up with their national squads.

The London Broncos could announce the name of their new coach by the end of this week. The club has decided on the man it wants and he is an Australian, but not Mal Meninga, the coach who is due to leave the Canberra Raiders next year and who has been in Britain recently. "We have not even spoken to him," said the Broncos' chief executive, Tony Rea. "The man we have in mind is not a big name."

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