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Rugby League: RL pulls Wales out of Sevens

WALES have been withdrawn from the World Sevens in Sydney next weekend, after Warrington informed the Rugby League yesterday afternoon that they were taking legal action to prevent their scrum-half, Kevin Ellis, making the trip, writes Dave Hadfield.

The League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, said that court action would be 'complex and time-consuming'. The feeling at the game's headquarters was that, with the squad due to leave next Monday, time had run out.

Ironically, the League had earlier beaten off another threat to Wales's involvement. An appeals panel had ruled that Widnes must release four players for the squad, even though they were no longer willing to do so after Wigan's expulsion for naming a below- strength side.

Both Wigan - the title-holders - and Wales would have been major attractions in the three-day tournament. It looks exceedingly unlikely that any British sides will be invited in future.

Swinton, meanwhile, are to launch a major effort to attract support in their new home town of Bury, after having the threat to their existence lifted by their director Malcolm White's success in buying the club from the administrator appointed to run it.

The Lions moved to Gigg Lane after selling their ground at Station Road at the start of the season. With doubts over their future - including a suggestion that they were to move to the Salford City soccer ground - they have made little impact on the town.

'Malcolm White buying the club is the best thing that could have happened,' said the club's coach, Tony Barrow. 'We have saved the club and I hope that spectators and sponsors will now have the confidence to get behind us.

'We have some good players who have stuck with us through our troubles and I predict that we will not be relegated.'

Wigan are without their Great Britain second row, Denis Betts, on the next stage of their defence of the Challenge Cup at Dewsbury on Sunday. Betts has a hamstring problem and could join Martin Offiah, who has a shoulder injury, on the sidelines.