Rugby League: Clubs welcome back prodigals

The game has welcomed back its prodigals from rugby union with a prediction that they will not repeat this winter's diversion.

As players like the Paul brothers, Gary Connolly and Jason Robinson return to their league clubs this week, the game's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, said he was not surprised by their success in the other code.

"They are world-class athletes with breathtaking ability. We are pleased to see them back and can assure them that they will be taking part in one of the greatest seasons in rugby league's proud history," he said.

"Our top players are likely to be involved from February until the middle of November. Surely after all that it will be time to lie on a beach and let mind and body recover."

St Helens have denied receiving an approach from Richmond or Bath for their captain, Bobbie Goulding. The player himself said yesterday: "I am trying to negotiate an improved contract at Saints, but the club doesn't seem able to do anything. I want to sort something out before it gets to the point where I ask for a transfer."

The former Keighley coach Phil Larder has gone back to his old club to try to sign Nick Pinkney and Martin Wood for Sheffield Eagles. Salford have got back their Western Samoan winger Fata Sini after fearing they had lost him to rugby union. Sini had signed for Llanelli but is to return without playing a match. And the Oldham scrum-half Martin Crompton has ended speculation about his future by signing an improved two-year contract with the club.

Hull Kingston Rovers have averted the immediate danger of closure by winning an administration order in court in Leeds. The club admitted to debts of pounds 1m last week and were served with a winding-up order by the Inland Revenue over an unpaid tax bill of pounds 250,000.

Edward Klempka, of financial consultants Coopers and Lybrand, also confirmed the club is solvent with assets of more than pounds 2.5m. "The crisis is born out of a cash flow problem and I will be looking to drip feed the pounds 200,000 Sky Television money to meet creditors' demands," he said.

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