Rugby Union: Leeds win Sailor's services

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LEEDS, THE ambitious Allied Dunbar Premiership Two club, have won their prolonged fight to register Wendell Sailor, the Australian rugby league wing, as a union player, writes Chris Hewett.

There is something of a double-edged sword about their success, though: Leeds' decision to openly defy the Twickenham authorities by playing Sailor against Rotherham last Sunday could yet earn them a costly two-point penalty.

The Rugby Football Union originally decreed that Sailor, who made his name with the Brisbane Broncos and came to Britain on a pounds 100,000 cross- code deal, did not fall within the strict regulations covering overseas permits and refused to sanction his move to the 15-man code. But after examining the small print in his contract, they are now happy to allow him to play both league and union for Leeds.

"His registration will not be retrospective, however," said Terry Burwell, the director of Twickenham services. "Sailor played unregistered for Leeds at the weekend and we will be advising the Premiership organising committee of that fact. It will be their responsibility to determine what action is required."

Paddy Johns has been named as Ireland captain for the World Cup qualifying matches against Georgia and Romania this month because of Keith Wood's contractual dispute with the Irish Rugby Football Union. Wood effectively ruled himself out of the 26-man squad for the qualifiers when he refused to attend training sessions in Cork yesterday following a contractual dispute.

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