Rugby League: Allez Wigan

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The Independent Online
CARCASSONNE, the French champions, will meet Wigan in the first round of the Regal Trophy. Including two French clubs in the competition's draw has created extra interest in both countries, and the prospect of the best side in France taking on Wigan has heightened that immeasurably.

'We are very content, very happy with the draw,' Claude Depaule, the Carcassonne president, said. Although Carcassonne came out of the hat first at the draw in Salford yesterday, the prior agreement was that both French clubs will play all their games in England.

Carcassonne are the dominant side in France, with seven internationals under the former Test coach, Jacques Jorda. 'It will be a real contest,' Maurice Lindsay, the Wigan director, said. However, the more realistic chance of progressing into the second round belongs, however, to the French Cup winners, XIII Catalan, who go to Rochdale Hornets.

The draw involves five First Division clubs in preliminary-round ties. The league leaders, St Helens, will meet Leeds in the pick of the first-round ties, provided they first dispose of Huddersfield.

Saints' 35-year-old prop, Kevin Ward, has been given a broad hint by Britain's coach, Malcolm Reilly, that he is in line for a recall from premature international retirement for the World Cup final against Australia at Wembley on 24 October. 'If you were picking on current form, you would have to include him,' Reilly said.

REGAL TROPHY Preliminary round: St Helens v Huddersfield; Wakefield v Highfield; Warrington v Blackpool Gladiators; Swinton v Hull KR; Chorley Borough v Sheffield Eagles. First round: St Helens or Huddersfield v Leeds; Halifax v Nottingham; Batley v Hunslet; Doncaster v Workington; London Crusaders v Wakefield or Highfield; Rochdale Hornets v Catalan; Salford v Featherstone Rovers; Swinton or Hull KR v Whitehaven; Warrington or Blackpool v Chorley or Sheffield; Leigh v Keighley; Oldham v Castleford; Wigan v Carcassonne; Widnes v Ryedale; Bradford v Barrow; Bramley v Carlisle; Hull v Dewsbury. (First-round ties to be played on 7 and 8 November).

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