Rugby League: Perrett takes his chance with Wales

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MARK PERRETT, of Halifax, Yorkshire-born but with Welsh parentage, will fill Wales' problem position of loose forward against France on Friday.

Perrett, a Great Britain Under-21 international, has chosen to throw in his lot with the Welsh, and gains an immediate reward in the international at Ninian Park.

Normally a second row, he is preferred at the back of the pack to the most recent major signing from Welsh rugby union, Richard Webster of Salford, who is one of four substitutes along with Daio Powell of Bradford, another English- born player who has chosen to represent Wales under the rule that allows qualification by parentage.

A side captained by Jonathan Davies in its first match in Cardiff since the revival of the national side in 1991 contains all the illustrious exiles, apart from John Devereux who pulled out of after being originally named. Powell, or his Bradford team-mate, Gerald Cordle, may replace Devereux.

Warrington have four players in the side, but have chosen to go ahead with their vital league game against Bradford Northern on Sunday rather than claim a postponement.

France have included two of their British-based players, David Fraisse of Sheffield Eagles and Danny Divet of Hull. The former Hull scrum-half, Patrick Entat, is captain of a side which shows eight changes from the one beaten by New Zealand in their last international in November.

Wigan and Featherstone will face a Rugby League inquiry following a report from the referee, Stuart Cummings, that they were involved in a brawl in their Challenge Cup tie on Sunday.

The two teams meet again in the League tonight, with Jason Robinson likely to replace Wigan's Va'aiga Tuigamala, who twisted his ankle on Sunday.

Oldham's new player-coach, Bob Lindner, is playing down reports that he is to leave at the end of this season to join the new Brisbane club, the Queensland Crushers.

Lindner has been reported in Australia as having agreed to play with the new operation, but said: 'It's all pure speculation. I haven't spoken to them in those terms at all.'

WALES (v France, Ninian Park, Cardiff, Friday): Ford (Salford); Bateman (Warrington), Davies (Warrington, capt), Sullivan (St Helens); Griffiths (St Helens), Ellis (Warrington); Young (Salford), B Williams (Carlisle), Jones (Hull), Moriarty (Widnes), Phillips (Warrington), Perrett (Halifax). Substitutes: Powell (Bradford), Cordle (Bradford), Marlow (Wakefield), Webster (Salford).

FRANCE: Frison (Villefranche); Sirvent (St Gaudens), Despin (Villefranche), Fraisse (Sheffield), Garcia (St Esteve); Fages (Pia), Entat (Avignon, capt); Beaudoin (Carpentras), Torreilles (Pia), Llong (Catelan), Cabestany (Catalan), Divet (Hull), Valero (Lezignan). Substitutes: Attia (Carpentras), Teixido (Limoux), Martinez (St Gaudens), Chamorin (St Esteve).