Rugby League: Saints rule out Gibbs' return

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The Independent Online
The St Helens coach, Shaun McRae, has poured cold water on the prospect of Scott Gibbs returning from rugby union to play in Saturday's Challenge Cup final. Saints have sounded out Swansea about the possibility of releasing Gibbs for the re-run of last season's Wembley confrontation, in which the Welshman played.

St Helens have held on to Gibbs' rugby league registration despite his pounds 250,000 move back to union last August, and he would be a tempting alternative if Alan Hunte loses his race to recover from a hamstring tear.

"It was a bright idea that someone came up with, but we have been informed by his club that they won't release him," McRae said. "I have since been told that Scott himself wants to play. If he could persuade Swansea to release him it might be a different matter, but we still would not be certain to do it.

"There is no doubt that he is a good player, but it would be a lot to ask and I have to think about the effect on the rest of the squad."

McRae hopes to make a decision on Hunte's fitness tomorrow, but will leave it until later in the week if necessary.

Brendan Hill, arguably the game's heaviest player, will be able to add his weight to Hunslet's cause in the Plate final at Wembley. Hill was placed on report in Sunday's game against Doncaster, but the League has ruled that he has no case to answer.

The Hunslet player-coach, David Plange, has a cast removed from an ankle ligament injury tomorrow and hopes to be fit to play against Hull KR in the first final of the new competition, which will be played as a curtain- raiser on Saturday.

The London Broncos are confident that Shaun Edwards has not cracked a rib, as was originally feared after the victory over Leeds on Sunday night. Edwards should be fit to play at Wigan, the club at which he spent 13 years, on 9 May.

Oldham have transfer-listed the Great Britain tour loose- forward, David Bradbury, at pounds 200,000. Bradbury has told the club's new director of football, Bob Lindner, that he is unsettled and cannot give them his full commitment.

Australia will play their three Super League Tests against Great Britain at Wembley on 1 November, Old Trafford on the 8th and Elland Road on the 16th. Four club games - against the London Broncos and the top three other Super League sides - will complete the itinerary.

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