Rugby League: Saints to lend youngsters

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ST HELENS are planning to lend three of their most promising young players to their sister club in Worcester. Saints want to broaden the experience of some of their Academy players by letting them play for the Midlands side - also the Saints - in the Rugby League Conference.

The club's chief executive, David Howes, said that the League had been asked to give the go-ahead to the ground-breaking scheme. "We have put a lot of work into our twinning arrangement with Worcester and would be all in favour of some of our young players turning out for them - but only if we can get a policy decision from the League," he said.

St Helens' prop forward, Apollo Perelini, will start his first Super League match of the season at Bradford on Sunday after recovering from a knee injury he suffered in March. Paul Sculthorpe will also return after a thigh strain.

Keiron Cunningham is a 50-50 proposition to start his first Super League game this year following a groin operation. Wigan have contacted Saints officially to deny reports that they are trying to sign Cunningham in time for next season.

The consortium bidding for a Super League franchise for Cardiff has the verbal agreement of four international players based in Australia that they would join the club for its inaugural season. The players - three Australians and a New Zealander - have all had talks about coming to the Welsh capital next season.

The consortium has also discussed the possibility of playing at the Cardiff Bay Stadium when it is built early in the millennium, although its initial home would be with the Cardiff rugby union team at the Arms Park. Cardiff faces competition for the franchise from Swansea, which already has the backing of Super League's managing director, Maurice Lindsay.

The former Australian Test forward, Rod Reddy, could look to Britain after being sacked as coach by the Adelaide Rams. Reddy, who once coached Barrow, has been replaced by the former Perth coach, Dean Lance.