Saints keep Kiwis in suspense as Newlove weighs plans

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Paul Newlove holds the key to St Helens' recruitment plans for next season, as the Lancashire club wait to learn whether the former Great Britain international will stay before responding to approaches by representatives of two New Zealand Test centres, Willie Talau and Nigel Vagana.

Newlove will be 32 by the end of the season. "His contract is up, but he's playing very well at the moment," the Saints coach, Ian Millward, said. Either of the Kiwis would make a suitable replacement. Vagana was a prolific try-scorer during his time with Warrington and is keen to come back to Britain, while his Canterbury team-mate is one of the most dangerous runners in the game.

After Dean Sampson's successful comeback for Castleford, another veteran prop is making a return. Neil Harmon, the former Warrington, Bradford and Leeds front-row man, has signed for Chorley, but sees it as a stepping stone back into Super League at the age of 33. Sampson, who is almost 36, came out of retirement to help Castleford to victory at Warrington on Saturday, scoring a try after coming on as substitute.

Union Treiziste Catalane, who have been offered a provisional place in Super League for the 2005 season, have been told to make more progress in their preparations by this autumn if they are to be allowed to compete. Representatives of the Perpignan-based club were at the Bradford-Leeds match last Friday for a chastening look at the standard required, after talks with the Rugby League earlier in the day.

The League will reveal this week which Super League clubs are in breach of last season's salary cap and so face having points deducted.

Plans for Castleford and Hull to hold a week-long training camp in Florida in January, culminating in a match in Jacksonville, have been scrapped because of concerns over the trip's financial viability.

Leeds have six players in the Super League Under-21 side to play a National League equivalent at Leigh on 10 June.

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