Radlinski to help Wigan rebuild after turning down union

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The Independent Online

The Great Britain full-back was expected to follow in the footsteps of Andy Farrell by switching codes after recent talks with Leeds Tykes and London Irish.

"I never went to rugby union, they came to me," Radlinski said yesterday. "There were a couple of reasons to go but a lot more reasons to stay. A lifestyle change would have been the main reason, but I have no real desire to play rugby union. I have lost a lot of sleep, but I couldn't see myself walking away from this town."

Radlinski, aged 29, has agreed a one-year contract extension that will keep him at his only club until the end of the 2007 season, something which has delighted his beleaguered chairman, Maurice Lindsay. "To lose Rads and Andy Farrell in one season would have been unbearable," Lindsay said.

Wigan's new coach, Ian Millward, was also relieved not to be losing another experienced player, whom he described as a "talisman" for the side. "I could not be more happy as a coach to have a great player like him still on board," he said.

Radlinski has been out of action with a hamstring injury, but could return as soon as the home match against Wakefield on 22 July. That will now be that night's televised match, as Brentford have prevented London from playing Huddersfield that Friday.

St Helens have told their stand-off Jason Hooper to look for a new club for next season, because they cannot fit him on their import quota. The Australian has been with Saints for three seasons, but they will not offer him a new contract because their three quota berths will be filled by Jamie Lyon, Darren Albert and their new signing, Jason Cayless.

"He has been great to coach, but we have to play within the rules," said their coach, Daniel Anderson. Hooper, who will miss the next month with a shoulder injury, has been given permission to talk to other clubs, with Salford known to be interested. Saints are now expected to pursue their interest in Bradford's Leon Pryce, while his team-mate Stuart Reardon could be on his way to Warrington for next season.

The former Warrington prop Danny Nutley makes his debut for Queensland at the age of 31 today in the deciding match of the State of Origin series in Brisbane.

o England overpowered Ireland 24-4 yesterday in their second-round Student World Cup match in Brisbane. Tries from Alex Clemie, Kevin Till and Martin Ainscough keep England unbeaten after two games.