Rugby Union: Quinnell sponsored for Wales return

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The Independent Online
A Welsh businessman is hoping to pave the way for Scott Quinnell's return to the Wales side with a pounds 10,000 sponsorship deal.

Quinnell has been involved in a wrangle over terms offered by the Welsh Rugby Union for his return to the national team after his return from rugby league.

Now Geoff Cartwright, a former player with Ebbw Vale, Pontypool and Newport whose Newbridge company manufactures Liverpool's shirts for Wales' new sponsors Reebok, has come up with a pounds 10,000 deal he hopes will satisfy the WRU.

"This is a tremendous Christmas present for everyone," Mike Burton, Quinnell's agent, said. "Scott is happy and everyone in Wales will be delighted that Scott is now available."

The row centred on the WRU's policy of offering preferential terms to international players based in Wales.

Quinnell, who plays for Richmond, said: "I am very happy with this sponsorship deal and I would like to express my thanks to Geoff Cartwright."

If the WRU find the compromise acceptable, Quinnell could return for Wales' opening Five Nations' Championship match against Scotland at Murrayfield on 18 January.

Fran Cotton, the Lions manager, intends taking a huge squad of 35 players on next year's tour of South Africa, five more than the traditional touring party.

Despite a 13-match programme, Cotton wants extra back-up on the spot in specialist positions rather than flying players out in injury emergencies.

Phil de Glanville is set to return after a thigh injury ruled him out of last Saturday's England match against Argentina. He has been named in the Bath side for the the Pilkington Cup match against London Irish at the Recreation Ground tomorrow.

De Glanville's England colleague, stand-off Mike Catt, misses the match. He has chest and shoulder injuries and expects to be sidelined for three weeks. Richard Butland comes in.

Referees are still talking with senior officials of the Welsh Rugby Union in a last-ditch attempt to avert a boycott of fixtures this weekend. Some leading matches look likely to go ahead, despite the strike by the Welsh Society of Rugby Union Referees over pay, but the programme still faces decimation with the dispute far from being resolved.

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