Rugby League: Wigan have to win and then wait

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The Independent Online
Wigan and the London Broncos can only win their matches this last weekend of the Stones Super League and then hope desperately for the result that suits them on Monday.

Wigan will go back to the top of the table, at least for a couple of days, if they beat Workington Town, as they surely will, this evening.

Shaun Edwards is recalled to the starting line-up in place of Craig Murdock - a change which the Wigan coach, Graeme West, insists owes nothing to internal politics and everything to Edwards's impact when brought on at London last week.

Edwards has again been publicly unsettled this week, but West said: "I can't be concerned about that. All I can do is pick the best team possible - which is why Craig Murdock was in the side in the first place.

"He has done a great job and it is certainly no detriment to him that he is on the bench this week, but Shaun made a very big impact at London."

Wigan could probably manage without a scrum-half altogether against visitors demoralised by knowing they are already relegated.

West's team selection for the Premiership play-offs next weekend will be strongly influenced by what happens at half-back today.

Realistically, the Premiership is Wigan's last chance of a trophy this season, because neither West nor his players expect St Helens to hand them the Championship by losing to Warrington on Monday.

London will hope that assessment is correct. They need to beat Castleford tomorrow and then urge St Helens on to victory in order to edge Warrington out of fourth place.

"It's in the lap of the football gods," said the Broncos coach, Tony Currie, who would feel a little more confident if his captain and loose forward, Terry Matterson, was fit to resume after a calf injury. Scott Roskell will be back on the wing, with Mark Maguire dropping to substitute.

Elsewhere, there will be clubs only too glad to see the end of the season, notably Leeds, who wrap up a miserable campaign at Halifax, and could be under new ownership by the start of next season.

As usual, Dean Bell has a string of injuries to contend with, including Gary Mercer, Nick Fozzard and Dean Clark, while Sateki Tuipolotu has been released. He will not have far to travel, as he is joining Leeds rugby union club, who will play at Headingley during the winter.

Leeds were beaten by Salford for the signature of the former Australian Test forward, John Cartwright. The 30-year-old Penrith Panthers captain will arrive at Salford in December on a one-year contract with a 12-month option.

In the Halifax Student World Cup, Scotland are the one home nation who could progress into the semi-finals after this weekend's matches.

The Scots have already beaten Japan and England, but face a sterner challenge against a strong French side at Castleford today.

Even if they are beaten, they could go through as best losers, ahead of New Zealand, who need to beat Ireland heavily at Hull if they are to qualify. Australia and Western Samoa are already through.

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