Rugby Union: Llanelli must play without Quinnell

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The Independent Online
LLANELLI'S REQUEST to include the Welsh international and recent signing Scott Quinnell against Perpignan was turned down yesterday by European Rugby Cup officials.

Llanelli had sought permission to play Quinnell, the No 8 signed from Richmond, in their European Cup quarter-final tomorrow. The ERC initially gave permission for Quinnell to play but Vernon Cooper passed a fitness test yesterday, giving the club a full complement of fit forwards.

Stuart Gallacher, the chief executive of Llanelli and a director of ERC, said: "While we are obviously disappointed not to have Scott available, we had a fair hearing and will go to Perpignan in a positive mood."

Llanelli's request to include Byron Hayward and Salesi Finau as cover was also denied.

The board also rejected an approach from Pontypridd, who meet Stade Francais in another of the quarter-finals, to register the hooker Tom Billups for their trip to Paris.

Club rugby will return to terrestrial television after the BBC secured rights to show highlights from the Allied Dunbar Premiership.

From next year, Sunday Grandstand will feature the biggest match of the weekend along with highlights from all the other matches. BSkyB, retains the rights to live coverage of the sport. Channel Four will also air a round-up show on Saturday mornings.

The Scottish Rugby Union has asked the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, to chair the independent review panel looking at the structure and running of the game north of the border. The retired peer, who admits he is not a rugby fan, is considered an ideal choice given his lack of ties with the SRU and club sides.