Rugby League: Salford looking to fiery Forber

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The Independent Online
KEVIN TAMATI, the Salford coach, must hope that the arrival of Paul Forber and the urgency of the club's situation can reverse a decline which is taking Salford towards the Second Division.

Salford were lying third in the First early in the season and playing some exhilarating rugby. But a run of six league defeats means that losing at home to Leigh tonight will see them replace their opponents in the bottom two.

'We haven't suddenly gone from being a good side to being as bad as this,' Tamati said. 'The five weeks without a game before Christmas didn't help, but perhaps this was always going to happen because we don't have a big enough squad.'

The signing of Forber from St Helens will give the Salford forwards more size and a dash of aggression, something that has been missing in the last couple of matches in which they have quietly faded after falling behind.

He makes his debut tonight, with Arthur Bradshaw moving to loose forward in place of the injured Jason Critchley. Steve Gibson is dropped to make way for David Cruickshank at full-back.

Leigh showed character, bouncing back from a club record defeat at St Helens last Wednesday to beat Sheffield on Sunday. Their coach, Steve Simms, recommended for the job by the Salford scrum- half and the new captain, Craig Coleman, can take satisfaction in the form of two teenagers promoted from the Academy team, Scott Martin and Simon Baldwin.

Rochdale Hornets, still hoping to replace Leigh or Salford in the First Division, have emulated them by also appointing an overseas coach. Peter Regan, recently assistant coach with Western Suburbs in Sydney, replaces Stan Gittins, who was sacked last week to leave Mike Kuiti in temporary charge.

Rochdale host a rare international when Great Britain Under- 21 play France on 17 February. The full international between the two on 2 April will be at Headingley, while summer rugby becomes a reality for the Under-21s in a return fixture in France, which is to be played in Montpellier on 15 June.

John Holdsworth, of Kippax, will referee the Regal Trophy final for the fourth time when Wigan meet Bradford Northern at Elland Road on 23 January.