Rugby League: Hampson in race for fitness

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The Independent Online
IT WILL be uncomfortably like old times for Steve Hampson if he is not able to prove his fitness before Wigan set off for Wembley today, writes Dave Hadfield. The 30-year-old full- back, who missed the 1984, 1985 and 1988 Challenge Cup finals with an assortment of broken limbs, is in danger of missing out again over the relatively trivial matter of a calf strain.

Hampson could not run yesterday, but will have one last chance before the team boards the bus today. 'It will be one way or the other,' the Wigan coach, John Monie, said. 'If he can run flat out, he's in; if not, he's out.'

Instead of finalising his Wembley line-up as planned yesterday, Monie had to name a squad of 16, one of whom will be omitted if Hampson is fit to face Widnes on Saturday.

If Hampson fails his test, Joe Lydon would play at full-back with Dean Bell in the centre, leaving the 17-year-old second row Andrew Farrell, Neil Cowie and Sam Panapa to contest one place in the starting pack with the other two on the bench.