Rugby League: Simpson's all-clear for cup final

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The Independent Online
THE LONDON BRONCOS have breathed a sigh of relief at the news that their second-row forward, Robbie Simpson, will be able to play at Wembley.

Simpson was found guilty of a reckless high tackle for which he was placed on report during the 40-8 defeat by Wakefield on Sunday, but was suspended for just one match at his hearing yesterday. "It's great news because Robbie is a very important member of our team," said the Broncos' coach, Dan Stains.

Dominic Peters will move from the wing to the second row to cover for Simpson's absence against Warrington on Saturday, with Rob Smyth coming back in an effort to prove his fitness for the Challenge Cup final against Leeds a week later.

London are already without Grant Young, Darren Bradstreet and Brett Warton for Wembley because of injuries, while Stains said that he will not select Shaun Edwards if he risks long-term damage to a broken thumb.

"It's a very important football game, to Shaun and everyone here," Stains said. "But his health will outweigh that."

Wembley finalists Leeds are to play five matches in 16 days. The Rhinos have been instructed to play St Helens at Knowsley Road on 4 May, three days after the Challenge Cup final.

Salford, one of only two teams without a victory in Super League, will have Gary Broadbent, David Hulme and Malcolm Alker are all fit to return after injuries for their match at Gateshead on Sunday.

Australia and New Zealand have been forced into changes in their sides for their Test in Sydney on Friday. Craig Gower has been dropped from the Australian side as a disciplinary measure after an incident at their hotel, with Andrew Johns coming in at hooker and Matt Sing of Sydney City taking his place among the substitutes.

The Kiwi captain, Quentin Pongia, and Tony Puletua are both out of their side, with Terry Hermansson and Matthew Rua taking their places.

The former Australian coach, Bob Fulton, has resigned as coach of Manly, who have lost all seven of their matches so far this season. Fulton, the game's most successful coach at club and international level, previously stood down from the Test job in order to look after his sick wife.

Oldham and Featherstone Rovers will observe a minute's silence before their match at Spotland tonight, in memory of Bob Irving, the former Oldham, Wigan and Great Britain second-row forward who died at the weekend at the age of 50.

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