Rugby League: Wigan vs Bath on League's agenda

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The Independent Online
The Rugby Football Union has confessed to what would once have been unthinkable - seriously discussing a showdown between Bath and Wigan.

The RFU secretary, Tony Hallett, yesterday held talks with the Rugby League's chief executive, Maurice Lindsay, in London about the idea. "We are not necessarily against the scheme, but insurance, safety, law and playing matters will need to be looked into," Hallett said. "Both league and union are united in considering the scheme."

The Wigan chairman, Jack Robinson, who has spoken to Bath and started the ball rolling by approaching Lindsay, said: "We are in the entertainment business and we've never been afraid to have a go at anything."

May is the likely time for the two-match series, one under each set of rules, but Robinson says that finding suitable dates could be problematic. Appropriately, Wigan's board will tonight discuss when Orrell will be able to play the first of their projected games at Central Park. The local rugby union club had hoped to stage their Pilkington Cup fixture against Harlequins there on 23 December, but Wigan are concerned about bad weather damaging their pitch three days before their Boxing Day derby against St Helens. Orrell's Courage League game against Saracens on 30 December is now likely to be their first on league territory.

Wigan have made an offer to the All Black squad member, Junior Tonu, who is primarily a scrum-half in union. "He is like a bigger version of Frano Botica," Robinson said.

Bradford Bulls have signed the South Sydney and former St George prop, Jeremy Donougher, on a two-year contact. Swinton have secured two members of Tonga's World Cup squad, Willie Wolfgramm, a half-back who was once with Manly, and Talite Liava'a. Leigh, however, have had to abandon their plan to sign two members of the Cook Islands' winning side in the Emerging Nations World Cup, because they cannot get them work permits.

Blackpool Gladiators and a projected club based in Galashiels, the Border Reivers, will today apply for membership of the Rugby League and for places in the Second Division next season.