Melling in line for call-up to plug gaps in Wigan squad

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The Independent Online

Another of Wigan's young hopefuls is in line to make his debut against Salford on Sunday with the call-up of Chris Melling to the first-team squad.

The 19-year-old Great Britain Academy full-back, who played in the side that beat Australia 15 months ago, has opted out of his university course in physiotherapy this week in order to train with the first team, in case he is needed.

Wigan lost a fifth international to long-term injury last weekend when Brian Carney broke his ankle against Widnes and, if Stephen Wilde does not recover from a hamstring strain, Melling will be brought in.

Wigan will treat their Powergen Challenge Cup fifth-round tie against Limoux as a day trip. They will fly in and out of France on 14 March in order to give themselves the maximum time to prepare for their Super League encounter with Leeds the following Friday.

St Helens have joined Wigan and Bradford in declaring their strong opposition to the proposed lowering of the salary cap from it current maximum of £1.8m.

"Nobody has shown me how it can be sound business sense to reduce the cap," said the Saints' chairman, Eamon McManus, who added that the club would have lost players such as Paul Sculthorpe, Kieron Cunningham and Sean Long to rugby union if a tighter limit was already in place.

Featherstone Rovers are able to look forward to a brighter future after emerging from administration. The National League One club had been in administration since November 2002.

Hull's new signing from the North Queensland Cowboys, Paul McNichols, has escaped suspension after being sent off for a high tackle in the Challenge Cup victory at Leigh.

Australia have confirmed that they are to play a match in France on their way to Britain for the first Tri-Nations tournament this autumn as well as one against the United States in New York on their way home.

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