Rugby League: Kearney may not play game again

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN KEARNEY, who captained New Zealand against Great Britain in the third Test last month, has been warned that he may not be able to play again. The second-row forward suffered bruising to his brain when a first-floor balcony on which he was standing collapsed at the team's hotel in Carcassonne on the French leg of their tour, writes Dave Hadfield.

Kearney, 21, has been told that he must not play for at least six months and that there could be a question mark over the safety of doing so afterwards. The Kiwi winger, Jason Donnelly, broke his ankle in the same incident, but both players were able to fly home with the rest of the squad.

Another career under threat is that of Mark Bourneville, the former New Zealand tourist who played for France, his adopted country, against the Kiwis on Sunday. Bourneville, who has also played for Leigh and St Helens, broke his arm in the Test and may be forced to retire.

The French, who, after last season's two thrashings by Great Britain, found cause for cautious optimism in their

36-11 defeat by New Zealand, have named Jean-Paul Ferre as the new president of their federation. He succeeds Gilbert Dautant, who died last week.

The Oldham coach, Peter Tunks, expects his scrum-half, Martin Crompton, to recover from a back injury in time to play against his former club, Wigan, on Sunday.

The match between Widnes and Leeds, postponed last night because of a frozen pitch at Naughton Park, has been rearranged for 1 December. The delay gives a chance for the Leeds scrum-half, Gareth Stephens, to recover from an infected toe sustained when he was accidentally trodden on by the referee, Robin Whitfield, during the match against Salford 10 days ago.

Meanwhile, Widnes have turned down transfer requests from their scrum-half, Bobby Goulding, and his understudy, Chris Kelly. Jason Donahue, the transfer-listed Leigh scrum- half who was the subject of a recent bid from Leeds, is also interesting Wakefield Trinity.