Rugby League: Three-game ban for Edwards

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The Independent Online
Subject to his appeal tomorrow, Shaun Edwards, the Great Britain captain, will miss the second Test against Australia on 5 November.

Edwards was yesterday suspended for three matches as a result of the high tackle with which he felled Bradley Clyde, the Australian forward, at Wembley on Saturday. Edwards, who was also fined pounds 1,000, was the first British captain to be sent off in a Test.

Tom Bellew, the chairman of the international disciplinary panel that considered his case, said that the rules allowed for a distinction between an intentional high tackle and one that was reckless or careless.

'Shaun Edwards pleaded guilty to acting recklessly,' Bellew, the one Australian member of the panel, said. 'His previous good record was taken into consideration.'

Edwards will miss Wigan's match at Hull on Friday, the second Test at Old Trafford and his club's game at Sheffield Eagles on 11 November, but will be clear for the final Test in the series, at Elland Road on 20 November. Even for a player who has never been suspended for foul play, that is not a bad result, so there must be some doubt about the wisdom of facing another (entirely different) panel tomorrow, which has the power to increase as well as cut his sentence.

'I'm appealing against the severity of the sentence,' Edwards said. Great Britain will be hoping that, when he confronts the two British members, Bob Ashby and Ronnie Teeman, plus the Australian, Kevin Brasch, tomorrow, he does not regret it.

At least the choices Great Britain must make to cover his likely absence from Old Trafford are relatively clear-cut. The replacement scrum-half, Bobby Goulding, and Phil Clarke, who took over as captain, both performed admirably in those roles and can be asked to carry on with confidence.

Halifax have signed Simon Baldwin, the Great Britain Academy second row, on a month's loan from their coach Steve Simms' old club, Leigh. He makes his debut as a substitute in tonight's match at Featherstone Rovers, coached for the first time by David Ward.

Fulton's quest, page 38

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