Rugby League: Lebanon coach denied entry to US

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LEBANON HAVE dedicated their World Cup qualifier today to their assistant coach, John Elias, who was refused entry to the United States with the rest of their squad.

Elias, a much travelled Australian whose former clubs include Leigh, has a criminal record and was turned back when the party flew into Washington from Paris on their way to the final eliminator against the United States in Orlando.

"The boys are shattered that he's not here and we're really fired up to win for him," said the full-back, Mohamed Chahal.

Elias has been in trouble with the law in Australia for fraud and weapons- related offences. He would have been playing in today's game, but is recovering from major surgery for stomach cancer.

The finalising of Northern Ford Premiership fixtures for the 1999-2000 season, which starts in less than five weeks, has been delayed following a hitch over the admission of a new Sheffield club. The fixtures were due out today, but a bid by a re-formed Sheffield Eagles to take the place of Bramley may be blocked over the Leeds club's insistence on claiming the pounds 300,000 due in television income over the next three years.

Bramley, who want to put the money into junior development in the Leeds area, have provisionally agreed to relinquish their membership of the Premiership and become an under-21 team for Leeds Rhinos.

Lawrence Dallaglio's agent said yesterday that the former England rugby union captain is not interested in Wakefield's offer for him to switch codes.