Russia win superpower battle

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The Independent Online
A try two minutes from time by Victor Mechaev gave Russia a thrilling 28-26 win over the United States to condemn the Americans to the superpower wooden spoon in their Halifax Emerging Nations World Cup Group One match last night.

A sterling second half at Warrington began with the American loose forward, Jeff Preston, scoring twice to give them a 24-10 lead.

Two tries from Igor Gavrilov, to complete his hat-trick, and one from Maxim Romanov put Russia level, but a penalty by David Niu seemed to have given America victory 11 minutes from time.

But then Niu, America's most experienced player, conceded possession by talking out of turn and Gavrilov sent Nechav in at the corner to decide the match.

The American Rugby League president, John Morgan, said that even a record of three defeats had been "an awesome experience'' for the side.

The Cook Islands beat Scotland at Castleford 21-10 in the same group to qualify for the final. They will meet Ireland who finished the top of Group Two after beating Morroco 42-6 at Dewsbury last night. The final is at Bury FC on Tuesday.

Rupert Murdoch offered three-year contracts worth A$1.6m (pounds 760,000) to secure the services of many of Australia's best players for his breakaway Super League, a court in Sydney heard yesterday. The highest-paid players, including the Canberra Raiders trio - Laurie Daley, Bradley Clyde and Ricky Stuart - were each paid a A$100,000 (pounds 48,000) signing-on fee. The costs involved were revealed in Sydney's Federal Court during proceedings in a case which will determine Super League's immediate future.

The RFL is determined to keep the sport in Keighley, despite reports that the club could go out of business. The First Division leaders have been hit by a cash crisis and have had talks with the RFL in a bid to put together some kind of rescue package. Maurice Lindsay, the chief executive of the RFL, said: "No matter how serious the situation, we must make every effort to preserve rugby league in Keighley."

London Broncos have signed the second row, Shaun Keating, from their parent club, Brisbane Broncos. Salford have signed David Myers, the Bradford winger who was banned last season for deliberately bumping into a referee and failing to provide a sample for a drugs test, on loan until the end of the season.