Sacked Hudson to appeal against drug ban

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The Independent Online

Ryan Hudson, the highest-profile casualty of rugby league's fight against drug abuse, is to appeal against the severity of his sentence.

Ryan Hudson, the highest-profile casualty of rugby league's fight against drug abuse, is to appeal against the severity of his sentence.

The Bradford hooker was banned for two years this week after pleading guilty to taking the banned steroid stanozolol. The punishment is twice that meted out to the London Broncos' Dom Peters in 2003, but corresponds to the mandatory ban recommended by the World Anti Doping Agency.

The Rugby Football League is increasing the number of drugs tests it carries out each year from 300 to 400.

"Rugby league has one of the most rigorous doping control regimes in British sport," said the executive chairman of the RFL, Richard Lewis. "We are determined to root out any players who may be using drugs as a method of enhancing their performance and who ultimately bring the sport into disrepute."

Hudson, signed last winter from Castleford, had been with Bradford for a few days when he returned his positive sample.

The club is to make a statement today confirming that it is sacking him and cancelling a three-year contract worth around £200,000. That will give them scope within the salary cap to recruit a specialist hooker.

Bradford play Leigh tonight, with Robbie Paul and Karl Pratt continuing to divide the hooking duties between them. Leigh are without Neil Turley and their new signing from St Helens, Dom Feaunati.

Chris Bridge, signed from Bradford this winter, is in Warrington's squad for the first time for their visit to Leeds, while Vinnie Anderson will make his St Helens debut in the second row against Salford.

Saints have insisted that the leak of what was purported to be their offer to Sonny Bill William to a Sydney newspaper was a forgery. "I was the only person involved and there was nothing in writing," said Saints' chairman, Eamonn McManus.

Wigan hope to resolve Andy Farrell's future today. The Great Britain captain had a medical examination yesterday on the knee which needed surgery this winter and the club has given the Rugby Football Union until the end of this week to complete his transfer.

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