Warrington set for fight to retain play-off position

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The Independent Online

Warrington's place in the Super League play-offs will be under more pressure than at any stage this season should they lose to Harlequins today. The congestion in the middle and lower reaches of the table is such that the club, in sixth place, are now only three points ahead of Quins, who are not quite clear of the threat of relegation.

"It's a huge game for us, because we want to go into the play-offs on the back of some good wins," the Wolves' coach, Paul Cullen, said. Cullen has a doubt over his loose forward, Ben Westwood.

Harlequins' Brian McDermott is able to add Mark McLinden, Zeb Luisi and Joe Mbu to his squad as they have all recovered from injury. The club have given a two-year contract extension to the young Londoner, Michael Worrincy, but he is missing today because of an ankle injury.

St Helens' reserve- strength side for the trip to play the Catalans Dragons has been approved by the Rugby League. Saints plan to debut as many as eight players from their Academy side, but the grounds for controversy are limited by the fact that the game has no impact on the relegation battle, because the French club are exempt.

The League has accepted medical certificates for the missing first-teamers and has passed their replacements as being up to Super League standard.

The Catalans' coach, Mick Potter, who plans to give a debut to the back-row forward, Cyril Gossard, has no complaints about Saints' tactic. "If I was in Daniel [Anderson's] position, I would probably do exactly the same," he said. "The Challenge Cup is a big deal and they don't want to risk injuries."

In the one Super League game tomorrow, Hull look to consolidate second place when they welcome Salford to the KC Stadium. They will be helped by having Kirk Yeaman back for the first time in two months.

In National League One, Hull KR will be mathematically certain of topping the table if they avoid defeat at Whitehaven.

Bradford have agreed a one-year contract extension with their long-serving New Zealand prop, Joe Vagana. "I've been here for six years and I want to finish at this club," said Vagana, who will be almost 33 when his new deal ends.

His coach, Steve McNamara, has paid tribute to his contribution since the loss of Stuart Fielden to Wigan. "Joe is very important to this club both on and off the field and his recent form has been outstanding," he said.

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