Leeds secure Poching signature

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The Independent Online

Super League leaders Leeds have continued their planning for next season by agreeing a new one-year contract with one of their senior players, Willie Poching.

Super League leaders Leeds have continued their planning for next season by agreeing a new one-year contract with one of their senior players, Willie Poching.

The 30-year-old Samoan international centre follows the full-back Richard Mathers in extending his stay at Headingley, while the prop Danny Ward has been given until Sunday to consider a new offer.

Another player coming out of contract, David Furner, returns to the Leeds pack after knee surgery at Huddersfield today. The Giants are still without Stanley Gene and Chris Nero is also likely to be missing.

Bradford, at home to Warrington on Sunday, have recalled Richard Moore from his loan at London to replace the injured prop Joe Vagana, who will be out for six weeks with facial damage. Karl Pratt is back for the Bulls after a four-week suspension and could face the player who effectively ended his international career two years ago. The New Zealand winger, Henry Fa'afili, scored a hat-trick past Pratt in the first Test in 2002 and is in line to make his Warrington debut tomorrow.

Sunday's other matches all have a big bearing on the issue of relegation. London could draw within a point of Widnes if they win at the Halton Stadium and they have the influential Jim Dymock back in their side after a long absence. On the debit side, the Broncos have lost Liam Botham back to Leeds after a successful loan spell, while Widnes - still looking for a new coach - have Steve Hall making his debut against one of his former teams after arriving from France. Jules O'Neill is fit again, but the Vikings are without their scrum-half, Willie Peters, who has a groin strain.

The bottom club, Castleford, will fall further behind if they fail to beat Wakefield, who have their sights on a play-off place and will be stronger for the return of Gareth Ellis and Darrell Griffin. Cas will be without the centre Motu Tony for three weeks, thanks to a knee injury, but their latest import, Steve Crouch, a second row from the Sydney Roosters, makes his first appearance amongst the forwards after flying in from Australia this week.

The other side still under pressure, Salford, have the former Halifax forward Andrew Brocklehurst making his debut after arriving on loan from London. Tim Jonkers, loaned by opponents St Helens, is also likely to make his first start for the Reds as they take on his main employers.

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