Rugby League: Bateman recalled by Britain

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The Independent Online
STUART SPRUCE'S sprained ankle has forced him out of the Great Britain squad to play France at Headingley on Friday and has brought a recall for Allan Bateman, Warrington's former Welsh rugby union centre, writes Dave Hadfield.

The Widnes full-back injured his ankle in the victory over Salford last Friday. John Devereux, who suffered a knock to the thigh in the same match, is expected to be fit for the Test.

Spruce's absence means that Alan Tait looks certain to be Britain's full- back, while Bateman, whose only previous cap was against France last year, might have to be content with a place among the reserves. The squad trained together for the first time last night and the starting line-up will be named today.

France, whose standing as Europe's only other full Test-playing nation is causing concern after their 48-6 defeat by Great Britain in Carcassonne earlier this month, have been invited to send some of their best young players to train with the cream of British youngsters at Lilleshall this summer.

Wigan, missing their concussed captain, Dean Bell, as well as their five Test players at Leigh tomorrow night, are to open talks on new contracts with Steve Hampson and Andrew Farrar, their try-scorers in Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final win, as well as discussing new deals with Shaun Edwards and Joe Lydon.

Leeds have signed another rugby union wing - Jonathan Scales, an 18- year-old from Newcastle Gosforth. He has scored four consecutive hat-tricks of tries for Yorkshire Colts and the Leeds coach, Doug Laughton, is tipping Scales to make a quick impact.

The League is to rule on Hull's claim that Ian Stevens, the former Wales B stand-off, breached his contract by failing to attend training because he was away on a course. Stevens joined Hull from Swansea last season, but has been largely confined to reserve team appearances.