RUGBY LEAGUE : Hull is sorely tempted

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The Independent Online
Paul Hull, the Bristol rugby union full-back and England A captain, is considering an offer by Warrington to switch codes.

Hull, who is due to fly out on tour to Australia on Tuesday, said: "I have had a very big carrot dangled in front of me. I have to consider it because the chance might not come again." That carrot is reported to be £200,000.

The Warrington chairman, Peter Higham, confirmed the club's interest in the 26-year-old player, who has four full England caps. "We have been watching him for some time," he said. "He can play a number of positions and looks good rugby league material." But Higham emphasised that Warrington, who have signed Andy Currier from Featherstone and are in the process of recruiting Mark Jones from Hull, have spoken to other rugby union players - although Jeremy Guscott is not among them.

Warrington could have their captain, Greg Mackey, back in action against Wigan tonight after a two-month absence following a shoulder operation.

His coach, Brian Johnson, will decide today whether to risk Mackey. He has been happy with his improvised half-back partnership of Iestyn Harris and Kelly Shelford, but might reshuffle his backs to cover for the loss of Allan Bateman, whose fractured eye socket will prevent him playing for the side again before taking up his contract with the Australian club, Cronulla.

Tony Kemp, sent off for dissent on his last appearance for Castleford, has been banned for two matches. Unless he plays first-class rugby elsewhere in the world this summer, the suspension means that the 27-year-old Kiwi Test stand-off misses the first two games of next season for his new club, Leeds.

The Keighley Cougars prop, Brendan Hill, sent off last weekend, has been cleared to play in Sunday's Second Division Premiership semi-final against London Broncos.

The Rugby League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, is to report to the game's board of directors next week before embarking on further talks with Newcastle United about entering a team in the league.

"If we genuinely want to expand the game, a sports-loving city like Newcastle is a tremendous prospect," Lindsay said. Blackpool Gladiators, expelled from the league two years ago, are pressing for re-admission.

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