Rugby Union: Clubs plan legal fight

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ROTHERHAM AND Worcester, the leading Second Division clubs, are threatening legal action against a possible reduction in size of Premiership One.

The merger of London Irish, Richmond and London Scottish has cut the top flight from 14 to 12 clubs and officials have indicated they may not replace the two clubs lost to the unification. But Rotherham and Worcester are opposed to any such changes and have brought in solicitors to act on their behalf.

They point to the Mayfair Agreement, signed in June 1998, which stipulates there must be 14 clubs in each division. It also specifies that one year's notice should be given of any proposed changes to the structure. Rotherham and Worcester intend to bring an action for breach of contract.

David Young, the Welsh international prop, has been reappointed as captain of Cardiff for the millennium season. Cardiff have added two players to their squad, with the scrum-half Kevin Ellis moving from Sale, and the former Harlequins prop Alan Yates adding his 18st bulk to the front row.

Matthew Burke has been named in the Australian team to play South Africa in Brisbane next weekend. Burke, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, scored 23 points in the Australian Barbarians' 33-24 defeat of New Zealand A last Saturday.

World Cup squads, Digest, page 27