Rugby League: Wright to receive special treatment

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WIGAN'S forgotten man, Nigel Wright, has been given a month to prove that he can get himself into shape for Super League.

The gifted stand-off has been plagued by injury since joining the club and started only eight matches last year. Now his coach, John Monie, has decided on a new make-or-break regime of recuperative treatment to try to overcome his latest problem, a stubborn ankle injury.

Monie has put his fitness specialist, Marty Hulme, in charge of trying to salvage Wright's career. If he fails, Wigan might be prepared to cut their losses on the former Wakefield Trinity player, who cost them pounds 140,000 - a record fee for a teenager - in 1993.

The newly reunified National Rugby League in Australia has put off the evil day when it will reduce its 20 clubs to 14.

The competition was scheduled to start pruning after this season, but will now wait until after the 1999 season before any decisions are made.

That means a stay of execution for famous names like Balmain and South Sydney, who were threatened with extinction or merger. It will also delay an expected influx of displaced players into the British game.