Wigan give month trial to union's Sampson

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The Independent Online

Wigan are to give a month's trial to the England rugby union winger, Paul Sampson, as they look to increase their options in the backs.

Sampson has been playing under the coaching of the former Wigan stalwart, Shaun Edwards, at Wasps. A member of a notable rugby league family, he has previous experience of the code with Wakefield.

For tonight's match at Hull, Wigan have more immediate problems in the forwards, after Terry O'Connor's broken hand ruled him out for several weeks. With Quentin Pongia having retired, the club is now down to two fit front-rowers, one of whom, Danny Sculthorpe, returns tonight after a shoulder injury. Andy Farrell and Gary Connolly are back, but Kris Radlinski is out with a thigh injury.

Hull expect to add Jason Smith and Kirk Yeaman to the squad that lost narrowly at Leeds on Friday night.

The Bradford forward, Lee Radford, is to have X-rays on a suspected fracture of the cheekbone. The club have denied that their winger, Lesley Vainikolo, has gone home to New Zealand.

Widnes' new signing, Willie Peters, has arrived and will make his debut against his former club, Wigan, on Saturday.

Clubs' recruitment plans for next season have been put on hold by a new ruling that they cannot approach players coming out of contract until 1 September, rather than 1 July as previously.

In Australia, the theory that Wigan are set to sign the Kangaroo centre, Mark Gasnier, has gathered momentum with the appearance of the Warriors' chairman, Maurice Lindsay, in the St George-Illawarra dressing-room after the victory over South Sydney on Sunday.

"It wasn't like he had a suitcase full of cash under each arm, but he knows that I know why he's here," said the St George coach, Nathan Brown.

The club has Gasnier under contract, but has an agreement that they will not prevent him from playing in England, provided he returns to them afterwards. Lindsay has admitted an interest in the player, but will be talking to several agents during his stay in Australia.

The West Indies, the surprise winners of the York International Nines at the weekend, intend to follow up that success by taking up the invitation to play in the World Sevens in Sydney next February.

The West Indies need to raise £15,000 before then, to enable them to play in the qualifying tournament in the city the previous week and, if successful, stay on for the main event.

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