Rugby League: Wigan call up rookie hooker

RUGBY LEAGUE
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The Independent Online
WIGAN ARE preparing to give their 17-year-old hooker, Mark Smith, his first taste of first-team rugby in the opening game of the Super League season. Smith, last season's Academy player of the year at Wigan, is set to be called into the starting line-up in place of Mick Cassidy for the match against Hull on Friday night.

Their other potential hooker, Mark Reber, is needed at scrum-half to cover for the continuing absence of Tony Smith. Wigan's need to strengthen their squad has seen them extend their interest to St Helens' reserve stand-off, Scott Barrow, as well as his team-mate, Paul Davidson.

The London Broncos have completed their squad for this season by signing the 24-year-old prop, Nathan Sologinkin, from the Canberra Raiders.

Wakefield Trinity's morale for the coming season has been boosted by a signing of a different sort. The supermarket giant, Sainsbury, has agreed a sponsorship deal with the newly promoted club worth pounds 600,000 over two years.

The Lincoln Financial Group has agreed to extend its sponsorship of the Great Britain team to cover this autumn's Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand. Lincoln, which sponsored the Test series against the Kiwis last year, is also to provide backing for Britain's senior referees this season.

The League's director of referees, Greg McCallum, is to issue a stern warning to coaches at a meeting next Monday that the sort of persistent lying-on in the tackle that marred the Challenge Cup tie between Leeds and St Helens on Saturday will not be tolerated. McCallum was furious with the infringements that prevented the match from achieving any fluency.

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