Rugby League: Fijian makes belated debut

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JAMES PICKERING will make his delayed debut for Castleford in the first of this weekend's Silk Cup Challenge Cup ties tonight.

The Fijian prop missed Castleford's pre-season friendly against Gateshead with a virus and their win over Hull in the last round of the Cup with a leg injury. He will play in the front row against York tonight, with another of this year's new imports, Dale Fritz, also returning. Castleford will be without another new antipodean, however, as Aaron Raper has a leg injury.

Dean Hanger is fit to take his place in Warrington's squad to face Halifax on Sunday, but Chris Rudd is ruled out.

British fans will have a chance to watch the match that could attract a world record rugby league crowd on 6 March, with full coverage of the first game in the double-header at the new Sydney Olympic Stadium being shown in full on Sky. The match between Manly and Newcastle, followed by Parramatta versus St George, could attract a crowd of 110,000, which would make history by topping the 102,569 who watched the 1954 Cup final replay at Odsal between Halifax and Warrington.

The slightly delayed telecast is the first of a weekly sequence of Australian games that will be shown on Saturday mornings. Sky is also to show the State of Origin series and the Australia-New Zealand Test live.

The Super League is today launching its cinema advertisement - the first by a sporting organisation in Britain - at the Virgin complex in Wigan, with the local club's Gary Connolly and Simon Haughton, cast as matinee idols.

The Rugby League is to visit West Cumbria today to investigate the possibility of converting the Copeland Athletics Stadium into a centre of excellence for the game.

Deakin's challenge

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