Rugby League: Wigan are close to capturing Sironen

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The Independent Online
Wigan hope to hear this week whether the Australian Test forward, Paul Sironen, can extricate himself from his contract with Balmain to join them.

Sironen, capped 21 times before retiring from international rugby two years ago, has been in touch with Wigan through an intermediary and has told the ARL-affiliated Balmain that he wants to leave the club where he has spent the whole of his professional career.

Even at 32, he would be a major capture for a Wigan club eager to strengthen its squad and is on a list of players that their new coach, Eric Hughes, wants to recruit.

The big out-going deal that is waiting to be finalised, however, is still on ice, with the London Broncos reluctant to pay a transfer fee for Shaun Edwards and Wigan insisting that they want one. Wigan have rejected a suggestion of a pay-as-you-play deal to take Edwards to The Stoop.

France have been effectively relegated from the top echelon of the game by being given internationals against Ireland and Scotland, rather than England and Wales, this season.

France will play Ireland in Paris on 14 May and will go to Glasgow to meet the Scots on 9 July. Although the president of the French Federation, Jean-Paul Ferre, welcomed the fixtures, they still represent lower profile competition than the three-cornered European Championship which has been contested for the last two years.

Maurice Lindsay, in his capacity as international chairman of World Super League, said that the calendar is too crowded this year for the Championship.

"We are duty bound to give France international competition," he said. "By giving them fixtures against Ireland and Scotland we are providing two international matches against sides in their ability range."

Also in France, Paris St Germain are to become a limited company, with the French Federation taking one-third of the shareholding and the rest available to investors.

Last season's captain, Pierre Chamorin, is expected to rejoin the club for the Easter fixtures.

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