Wolves reprieve Van de Velde

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The Independent Online

Warrington are to resist the obvious knee-jerk reaction of immediately sacking their coach in the wake of Sunday's humiliating defeat by Huddersfield-Sheffield that sparked a supporters' demonstration.

Warrington are to resist the obvious knee-jerk reaction of immediately sacking their coach in the wake of Sunday's humiliating defeat by Huddersfield-Sheffield that sparked a supporters' demonstration.

Fans staged a sit-down protest after the Wolves, 24-6 ahead against the Super League's bottom club at half-time, lost 44-24.

The club's chief executive, Peter Deaking, talked to the disgruntled spectators. "I had to," he said. "They weren't doing anything untoward. It was very good humoured, but they obviously wanted to know what was going on."

Inevitably, much of the Warrington fans' anger was aimed at Darryl Van de Velde, the club's coach since the start of the 1997 season.

"I really rate Darryl," said Deakin. "I think he's a great coach, but I'd be a fool if I said there was nothing wrong. I'll be sitting down with Darryl and the senior players over the next few days, but it would be wrong to do anything while emotions are running high."

Meanwhile, Huddersfield-Sheffield, whose win at Warrington was only their third of the season, are to delay appointing their new coach until at least the end of this week.

The Giants still have several candidates to interview, including the recently deposed Wakefield coach, Andy Kelly, who has been on holiday. The caretaker coach, Phil Veivers, has already been interviewed and his case must have been strengthened by the team's totally unexpected win at Warrington.

Another candidate, Kelly's brother Neil, will lead Dewsbury in the Northern Sport Premiership Grand Final against Leigh at Bury on Saturday. The Rugby League is hoping for a gate of over 9,000 at Gigg Lane with Leigh, whose 5,800 against Oldham on Sunday was their highest home gate since they were last in the top flight, already requesting more tickets. The Wigan referee Robert Connolly has been appointed to take charge of the game.

The United States have been asked to be prepared to step up into the Lincoln World Cup this autumn if Fiji are kept out by the weight of international disapproval over the recent coup. The Americans are due to take part in the Emerging Nations World Championship but will be promoted if necessary. Waisale Sovatabua, the Huddersfield-Sheffield full-back and the only Fijian player in Super League, has pleaded for his country not to be expelled. "It would not help the situation at home if Fiji were banned," he said.

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