Rugby League: Farrell forced to rest injury

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THE WIGAN and Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, has discovered that he has been playing with a broken bone in his ankle.

Specialists have diagnosed a hairline fracture, which he carried through at least three matches before finally losing his ever-present record in Super League last week. He has now been told to rest the ankle, starting with tonight's game at home to Sheffield Eagles. Denis Betts also misses the match with a damaged cheekbone and a swollen knee, but Gary Connolly is back, in the unfamiliar position of stand-off.

Wigan are one of six clubs to be called before a sub-committee of the Rugby League after a spate of brawling in games. Their match against Bradford is on the agenda for a hearing next week, along with Halifax against St Helens and Doncaster against Barrow.

Castleford's New Zealand utility player, Brad Hepi, has been sent a warning letter concerning his tackling style. Hepi was placed on report during the match against Leeds on Sunday after a series of high challenges. The Rugby League has warned clubs about deliberate obstruction after an opponent has kicked the ball. Referees have been empowered send offenders to the sin-bin and told to send players off if they are guilty of using the elbow or tackling high.

"We want everybody to know that we will not hesitate to take action against players who put other players at risk through reckless or deliberate foul play," said the director of referees, Greg McCallum.

The former Barrow, Halifax, Keighley and Swinton coach, Peter Roe, has been put in charge at Featherstone Rovers until the end of the season. Featherstone were one game away from being able to apply for Super League last season, but are in mid-table in the Premiership this time. Kevin Hobbs resigned after only a dozen games in charge after being abused by a small section of the crowd.

In a change of policy this year, Premiership clubs going into the end- of-season play-offs will know in advance whether they will be accepted into Super League if they win their Grand Final.

Healthy advance ticket sales are being reported for two events in unfamiliar settings. Leicester Tigers say that they are expecting a turn-out comparable with their own home gates for the match between London and Bradford at Welford Road on 28 July.

Next season's Challenge Cup final, at Murrayfield because of Wembley's impending reconstruction, has sparked an unprecedented early rush for tickets, with 10,000 already sold and the Rugby League's ticket office is as busy as it was shortly before this year's final between Leeds and London.