Quins' James decides it's grim down south

Welsh forward leaves club by mutual consent as Londoners' problems grow
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The Independent Online

Struggling Harlequins have lost another forward – because he wants to return to the North of England after just three games.

Quins signed the Welsh international forward Matt James on a two-year contract last September. He figured as a substitute in their first three Super League matches, but was left out at Hull at the weekend and has now had his contract cancelled by mutual consent.

A brief statement from the club said that James, who spent much of last season on loan to Halifax, wanted to find a club in the North. It is the latest setback for Quins, who have won just one match so far. They released their Australian second-rower Chad Robinson before the start of the season following a string of injury problems.

They have also been without a number of other players, including their loose forward and captain, Rob Purdham, who has yet to play this season because of a shoulder injury.

The club's former player Tony Martin has set himself a target for making his debut for his new club, Crusaders. Martin, who also played for Wakefield, has been out of action with a knee injury since signing for the Wrexham-based side but hopes to be ready for their next home game, against the Catalan Dragons on 19 March.

That game could also mark the first appearance of the former Welsh rugby union captain Gareth Thomas, whose signing by Crusaders is expected to be completed this week.

The club have already derived one indirect benefit from signing Martin, who was largely responsible for bringing Michael Witt to north Wales. Witt's outstanding form at half-back has been a major factor in Crusaders exceeding all expectations so far.

At the other end of Wales, the South Wales Scorpions have confirmed Anthony Seibold, previously on Crusaders' coaching staff, as their first head coach. The new club, born out of the ashes of the original Celtic Crusaders, won their first Championship 1 fixture on Sunday, beating Workington 22-20.

League-leading Wigan's Cameron Phelps will return to the line-up at Bradford after a two-match absence with an ankle injury. Also back is Iafeta Paleaaesina, who was dropped at the weekend and given extra training as part of the drive by coach Michael Maguire to raise players' fitness levels.

Castleford have sent two of their young players, Jordan Thompson and John Davies, on loan to York for the rest of the season.

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