Rugby Union: Pilgrim poised

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The Independent Online
WASPS, the unbeaten leaders of the Courage Clubs' First Division, could lose their former England B full-back, Steve Pilgrim, to rugby league, after his promising display for the Leeds Alliance side in their 30-10 victory against Wakefield Trinity at Headingley on Tuesday night.

Pilgrim, 25, was the unnamed trialist who scored a try, laid on another, and kicked three goals, prompting the Leeds coach, Doug Laughton, to confirm his first impressions with 'it's fair to say he could well be joining us in the near future'.

Wasps have no match this weekend, but news of Pilgrim's plans came as a complete surprise to their coach, Rob Smith, as the London club prepare for a difficult run-in to their league programme, which includes away games at second-placed Bath and last year's runners-up, Orrell.

'Steve has only recently come back into our side after suffering a hand-bone injury playing for London in the Divisional Championship,' Smith said. 'Although he prefers to play full-back, Steve has had to give way to Alan Buzza in that position and has been playing on the right wing.'

Should Leeds decide not to sign Pilgrim, his amateur status could be in jeopardy. Under the International Rugby Football Board rules a player is not allowed to take part in a trial or play for a non-amateur club. If Pilgrim is found to be in breach of the regulations, then the Rugby Football Union has no option other than to suspend him.