Rugby League: Wigan welcome Lester

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The Independent Online
Central Park finally welcomed Stuart Lester yesterday after a long delay over his work permit and the young New Zealander goes straight into Wigan's squad for the friendly against the Lancashire Lynx on Sunday.

If he comes through that, the 21-year-old second-rower could be on the bench for the Silk Cut Challenge Cup tie at St Helens on Saturday week.

Lester, who was limited to reserve team rugby at his previous club, the Auckland Warriors, said: "It wasn't a difficult decision once I knew that Wigan were interested. They are the greatest club side in the world."

Doc Murray, who played with Lester at Auckland and will now team up with him at Wigan, predicted an instant impact.

"He has got a step on him like you've never seen on a forward," he said. "The crowd will go wild about him."

Wigan will have their prop Terry O'Connor back for the St Helens game after a groin operation. They are also hopeful that Gary Connolly will be fit after knee ligament damage, but Henry Paul has only a 50-50 chance with an injured shoulder.

Then there is the question of the fitness of Andy Farrell, who is captaining Great Britain in the World Nines in Townsville this weekend. Farrell is having daily treatment on his thigh to get him ready for Britain's opening group matches against Tonga and South Africa tomorrow.

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