Rugby League: Pilgrim on hold

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(First Edition)

THE board of directors of Leeds were last night discussing whether to offer a contract to Steve Pilgrim, the Wasps and England B full-back banned from rugby union for a a year for playing a reserve-team trial.

'I have a rough idea what he wants,' the Leeds coach, Doug Laughton, said. 'It's a question now, after all the other money we have spent, of whether we can afford it.'

If Leeds decide against proceeding, Pilgrim runs the risk of being left in limbo, but Laughton believes that the player should take legal action against the Rugby Football Union in either case.

'Since I appeared on television suggesting that a bright young lawyer could make a name for himself fighting this case on Pilgrim's behalf I have had a couple of solicitors in touch wanting to represent him,' Laughton said.

The St Helens captain and scrum-half, Shane Cooper, is likely to be fit for his club's Challenge Cup second-round tie at Wigan on Saturday. Cooper, who gives Saints much of their direction, missed last Friday's victory over Warrington with a toe injury.

Wigan's centre, Andrew Farrar, will have a test today on the hamstring injury which kept him out of the win over Bradford on Sunday. If he fails, Joe Lydon will continue in his place against Saints. Billy McGinty has recovered from knee and ankle problems and will return in the second row in place of Ian Gildart.

Wigan have no less than seven players in the Great Britain Academy squad for the Under-19 international against France at Central Park next Tuesday. Andrew Farrell, who at 17 has already made a handful of appearances in the first- team pack, will captain the side.