Rugby League: Wigan prepare to unwrap Boxing Day overseas signing: Revamped Challenge Cup draw pits eight former winners against amateur opposition

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The Independent Online
WIGAN are to unveil their latest overseas signing at half-time in the Boxing Day match against St Helens. Although all the portents point towards the All Black winger, Va'aiga Tuigamala, the Wigan chairman, Jack Robinson, warned: 'We may have a surprise in store.'

Wigan have been linked with other southern hemisphere players, including the Wallabies, Jason Little and Tim Horan, but Tuigamala is the player who has most excited both Robinson and the club's coach, John Dorahy. Wigan would use Tuigamala as a centre to replace Dean Bell, who leaves to join the Auckland Warriors at the end of this season.

The League has complained on Wigan's behalf to the New South Wales Rugby League, who administer the Winfield Cup which Auckland will join in 1995, about what they claim are unethical approaches from the Warriors to Wigan players.

St Helens look certain to go into the Boxing Day derby with a new coach. A press conference is planned for this morning and the speed with which Mike McClennan has been replaced points to an internal appointment, with Eric Hughes moving up from his present job as Saints' Academy coach.

Eight former winners of the Challenge Cup face amateur opposition in the third round for this year's revamped competition. Under the terms of opening up the Cup to amateurs, the Second Division sides all have home draws, with the winners going into the hat with the First Division clubs for the fourth round.

SILK CUT CHALLENGE CUP Third round: Carlisle v Askam; Keighley Cougars v Oulton; Hunslet v Barrow Island; London Crusaders v Shaw Cross or Thatto Heath; Rochdale Hornets v Millom; Doncaster v Wigan St Patricks; Ryedale-York v Leigh Miners; Bramley v Redhill; Huddersfield v Woolston; Workington Town v Beverley; Dewsbury v Hensingham; Batley v Dewsbury Celtic or Heworth; Barrow v East Leeds; Highfield v Saddleworth; Whitehaven v West Hull; Swinton v Irlam Hornets. Ties to be played on weekend of 16 January.

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