Rugby League: Ramsdale returns to coach Leigh

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LEIGH have appointed their former assistant coach, Denis Ramsdale, as head coach in succession to Steve Simms, who has left to join Halifax, writes Dave Hadfield.

Ramsdale, who held the job in a caretaker capacity two years ago before Simms arrived from Australia, resigned as the Barrow coach last week and was briefly in charge of Chorley in the National Conference League. He had a long career as a player with Wigan and takes over at their near-neighbours under no illusion about the financial constraints he will be working under.

Scott Gibbs is in Wales' squad to prepare for the match against Australia on 30 October, despite his own prediction that he would not have adapted to his new code sufficiently to be considered.

The former Swansea, Wales and British Lions rugby union centre has played only five competitive matches for St Helens, but the impression he has made has been so favourable that it would have been unthinkable to omit him.

All the other recent Welsh converts are included in a 26-man squad, along with two uncapped Anglo-Welshmen in Stuart Pugsley and Paul Reynolds. The squad will be reduced to 19 nearer the date of the match in Cardiff, but Gibbs is unlikely to be one of those pruned.

The clear evidence of early season matches, particularly Leeds' performance at Wigan last Friday, has pushed the Rugby League into action on head-high tackles.

The chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, has written to referees urging a clampdown. 'They have a responsibility to dismiss immediately from the field of play all perpetrators of deliberate head-high tackles, without first issuing a warning or using the sin-bin,' he said.

Police have begun investigating rumours that players of South Sydney fixed two Winfield Cup matches after placing bets on their opponents with illegal bookmakers, betting that their opponents would win. Betting on the outcome of individual rugby league games is illegal in New South Wales, but is allowed in several other states.

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