RUGBY LEAGUE: World Cup to get pounds 1m backing
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Tuesday 20 April 1999
The Lincoln Finance Group, which sponsored Great Britain's Tests against New Zealand last autumn, is to back the 2000 tournament in Britain and France with a package worth more than pounds 1m - the largest sum ever for a rugby league event.
"It will help us to create a vehicle that will raise awareness and participation throughout the country," said the Rugby League's chief executive, Neil Tunnicliffe. "We also intend to generate revenue for reinvestment in this country and beyond."
The 16-team tournament, now to be known as the Lincoln Financial Group Rugby League World Cup, will, for the first time, feature England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales all playing as separate entities.
Tunnicliffe revealed that England, Wales and France would host three of the groups, with Scotland and Ireland sharing the other. With Wembley out of action, no decision has yet been made on the venue for the final, pencilled in for 25 November, although Old Trafford and the new national stadium in Cardiff are two possibilities.
The draw for the tournament is to be held at the Savoy Hotel in London on 25 May, although the 16th place will not be decided until Japan, the United States, Lebanon and Italy play off for the privilege later this year.
Australia, the world champions, who will no doubt start this tournament as hot favourites, have opted for Brad Fittler, rather than Laurie Daley, as captain for this Friday's Test against New Zealand in Sydney.
The Test is under the auspices of the Australian Rugby League, with whom Fittler sided during the Super League "war", while Daley was one of Super League's leading lights. Fittler has also been handed the influential stand-off role, with Daley shunted into the centres.
Notable newcomers are the Cronulla winger, Mat Rogers, and Penrith's hooker, Craig Gower, both of whom are in a full Test side for the first time.
The former St Helens player, Jarrod McCracken, is set to captain the Kiwis for the first time if Quentin Pongia is kept out by a rib injury.
The London Broncos could lose another player from their Wembley side when their second-row forward, Robbie Simpson, faces a League disciplinary hearing today. Simpson was placed on report for striking during London's 40-8 defeat at Wakefield on Sunday and has been ruled to have a case to answer. A ban of more than one match will rule him out of the Challenge Cup final, a serious blow to a team that has already lost several players from the big day through injury.
The Great Britain scrum-half, Tony Smith, is to play his first Super League match of the season for Wigan against Castleford on Sunday after recovering from a broken bone in his leg.
Latest in Sport
Newcaslte vs Everton: Latest news and score plus the rest of today's Premier League action, including Manchester United and Chelsea reaction
Manchester United injury news: Angel Di Maria unlikely to face Spurs as Marouane Fellaini's 'mystery illness' turns out to be rib injury
Manchester City team news: Manuel Pellegrini hopes to have Vincent Kompany back for Burnley visit but hopes not to risk Stevan Jovetic
Arsenal transfer news: William Carvalho to be subject of £20m bid
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw renting £3.85m home from Cristiano Ronaldo
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 4 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...