Widnes veteran Spruce announces retirement

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The Independent Online

The former Great Britain full-back, Stuart Spruce, has retired at the age of 34.

Spruce has recently had surgery on his damaged fingers and has told his club, Widnes, that he feels the time is right to call it a day. He began his career at his hometown club and returned to them after a successful spell with Bradford.

"Stuart has been a great servant to the club and a big part of what we have achieved since our return to Super League," said the Widnes coach, Neil Kelly. More positive news for the club is the signing from Leigh, for an undisclosed fee, of the 17-year-old prop, Adam Bibey, younger brother of St Helens' Ricky.

Bibey played in the England Under-18s side that beat Australian opposition in the autumn and Kelly called him "one of the top forward prospects in the country".

Leeds have flown out to their warm-weather training camp in Lanzarote without their international centre, Chev Walker. Under the terms of his early release from a young offenders' institution, Walker cannot leave the country.

Ian Sibbit has had to pull out of Warrington's training camp on the same island because of injury, but the club's captain, Lee Briers, says that he is hopeful of being fit for the start of the new season. He has not played since breaking his wrist in July.

"It's progressing well," he said at Wilderspool yesterday. "I had an X-ray this week and hopefully I will be ready for the start of the season."

Two of Warrington's new overseas recruits, Chris Leikvoll and Danny Lima, are to miss the births of their second children in Australia in order to be with their club for the start of the Super League season.

Wakefield have confirmed the signing of the Samoan international hooker or half-back, Albert Talipeau, who played in Australia for the Sydney Roosters.

St Helens will play newly-promoted Salford in a pre-season friendly at Knowsley Road on Friday 6 February.

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