Rugby League

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The pendulum should swing back towards the game's defensive arts next season following an agreement between Super League coaches and the referees' control director, Greg McCallum. A meeting at Headingley at which all 12 clubs were represented agreed changes at the play-the-ball that will make life tougher for the side in possession. The defending side will be allowed to complete the tackle and the player with the ball will have to get back on to his feet before restarting play. In other changes a player jumping to catch the ball cannot be tackled until he lands and referees will not have to send players off automatically for tripping.

Leeds' new prop, Jamie Mathiou from North Queensland Cowboys, has arrived despite being initially refused entry at Manchester airport. He is expected to make his debut against Halifax on Boxing Day, and Leeds are to play another pre-season friendly against St Helens in January. Castleford have signed another Cowboy, the stand-off Adrian Vowles.

Richard Bramley, who led Cambridge to victory in this month's rugby union Varsity match at Twickenham, will play for the Light Blues in this season's league version. Jonathon Griffiths, a Super League player with Paris St- Germain in 1996, will also be going for the "double" when Cambridge meet the Dark Blues at Richmond RUFC on 12 March.

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