Hughes sure of Wigan's future

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The Independent Online
Wigan's new coach, Eric Hughes, is resigned to losing Va'aiga Tuigamala, whose signing Newcastle are expected to announce today. Hughes' reign is therefore beginning with the same sort of depletion of his squad that depressed his predecessor, Graeme West.

"He came from rugby union and that is where his heart is," Hughes said of Tuigamala's imminent departure. "But I still feel I can put out a side that is the envy of every other coach."

Bobbie Goulding, the St Helens captain and scrum-half, is to have his appeal against an eight-match suspension heard tomorrow. Goulding was sent off for a high tackle on Wigan's Neil Cowie in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup tie between the two sides, but St Helens have described the ban as outweighing the severity of the offence.

Tickets for this year's final on 3 May will be at a premium, if early sales are any indication. All top-priced seats have already been sold, with interest fuelled, the League believes, by the quality of last year's final between St Helens and Bradford Bulls.

The finalists in the Silk Cut Plate, for First and Second Division clubs knocked out of the Cup, will receive only 2,000 tickets each, because of the guaranteed allocation to the finalists in the day's main event.

Ady Spencer, the former Cambridge University stand-off, could be the London Broncos' surprise choice at hooker for their fifth-round tie against Bradford on Saturday.

Bradford have denied that Danny Peacock, their centre, could be prevented from playing in the tie by a contract with the Australian Rugby League. "There is only one organisation with which Danny Peacock has a contract and he will play for us on Saturday," Peter Deakin, the Bulls' spokesman, said.

Iestyn Harris, the Great Britain stand-off, will play his first game at any level for Warrington since last summer when he lines up for the reserve side in the Alliance Cup tie against Leeds tomorrow night. Harris is on the transfer list at a world record pounds 1.35m, but has been recalled to training with the first team squad. If he comes through successfully, he could play in the Challenge Cup tie at home to Sheffield Eagles on Sunday.

Oldham, who have announced a tie-in with the Manchester Storm ice hockey club, hope David Bradbury, their Lions' tour loose-forward, will agree a new contract before Sunday's tie at Wakefield Trinity.

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