Rugby League: Wigan to stop Smyth leaving

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The Independent Online
WIGAN will today block Rob Smyth's hopes of a big money move to play regular first-team rugby with the London Broncos. London had offered the winger, currently in the Alliance team at Central Park, a three-year contract at twice his present salary.

But the Wigan coach, John Monie, assessing his squad in the light of defeat at Wembley, wants to keep the 21-year-old local product, who spent all of last season on the injured list.

The Rugby League has told Wigan that Leeds are not deriving an unfair advantage for the match between the two clubs next Friday by loaning their suspended prop, Barrie McDermott, to Bramley.

The ex-Wigan forward would have been available for the match in any event, the only difference being that he can now have a run out for Bramley against Workington.

Sheffield Eagles, whose civic reception today has been postponed because of a double booking, will parade the Silk Cut Challenge Cup for their supporters at the Super League match against Wigan this Saturday.

The League has reacted to criticism from Super League that it acted too hastily in agreeing a two-year extension of Silk Cut's sponsorship in the week before this year's final.

Super League's chairman, Chris Caisley, has said that he and his member clubs should have been consulted.

However, the League argues that sponsorship deals have always been negotiated by its officers and that this deal was agreed in principle while Maurice Lindsay, now the managing director of Super League, was still chief executive at the League.

The deal, which is worth pounds 1.8m, takes the game through to the end of tobacco sponsorship of sport and also bridges the potentially awkward gap when the Cup final must move away from Wembley during re-building.