Rugby League: International intransigence of Newlove

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PAUL NEWLOVE has put his international future in jeopardy by resisting all attempts to persuade him to travel with Great Britain for next month's World Sevens in Sydney, writes Dave Hadfield.

The Bradford Northern centre, one of Britain's most gifted players, is moving house at the end of this month, and neither the British management nor his club have managed to dissuade him from withdrawing.' I have a life outside rugby league,' Newlove said. 'No one has actually said that I'll be affecting my future, but that's for them to decide.'

The fact that Newlove, whose talent has never been matched by obvious ambition, has pulled out of international commitments before has deepened the annoyance at this latest episode. 'We are angry and upset at his rejection of the chance to represent his country,' the Rugby League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, said. 'The matter is being viewed as serious and will be discussed by the League's board of directors in mid-February.'

Newlove's replacement at the tournament, from 4 to 6 February, will be his Bradford team-mate, Paul Medley, who last wore a Great Britain shirt on the 1990 tour.

Two Castleford players, Graham Steadman and St John Ellis, have completed a memorable few days by following up their part in Castleford's Regal Trophy final victory over Wigan by being named as replacements for the injured Daryl Powell and John Devereux in the Sevens squad.

The Wigan coach, John Dorahy, has reacted to his side's 33-2 defeat in that match by dropping three Great Britain forwards for the Silk Cut Challenge Cup tie against Wakefield this weekend. Martin Dermott, Neil Cowie and Andy Farrell have been left out of the pack. 'There are other players who can consider themselves very fortunate,' he said. Mick Cassidy, Ian Gildart and Billy McGinty are called up.