Stand-off Lewis joins Llewellyn at Wasps

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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

Matthew Lewis, the Bridgend stand-off, yesterday became the second Welsh player to sign for Courage League One club Wasps. The 25-year-old, who made his Wales A debut against Scotland A last month, follows in the footsteps of Glyn Llewellyn, the Wales and Neath lock .

"The only reason I'm going is for the job outside rugby," said Lewis, who has been offered a job in London. "But while I am there, I may as well play for a club in the area."

Pontypridd are refusing to give their players permission to switch codes and play rugby league during the summer. Several Pontypridd players are understood to have trained with the fledgling South Wales club, who open their Second Division rugby league season at Aberavon against Hull Kingston Rovers in 10 days time.

Eddie Jones, the Pontypridd team manager, questioned the loyalty of union players who are considering making a switch. And he stressed that the club would not give permission to any of their players who wish to play league during the union closed season.

"We are not agreeable to it at all. We feel we have been good to these players but they have not shown the club the courtesy they should have," Jones said.

The Pontypridd centre Shane MacIntosh and the scrum-half Nicky Lloyd are known to have trained with South Wales, while the wing David Manley and the No 8 Dale MacIntosh are also reported to be interested.

Jones said: "We have nothing against the new rugby league club. We would feel the same if they were training with Timbuktu first XV. We would want to be told and we will be informing them of that."

Mike Nicholas, the South Wales manager, said: "You cannot expect a professional sportsman to sit idly by for five or six months and not earn any money. We haven't targeted these guys - they have come to us. They are not even on contracts and we are not asking them to play in their season. It's like being in the dark ages."

The South Wales club expect to name Clive Griffiths, the Welsh rugby league national manager, as their coach today. Griffiths left the Warrington coaching staff earlier this week.

Llanelli are still trying to keep their captain, Phil Davies, next season even though he has signed to be the rugby manager of Leeds. Davies, 32, who holds the Welsh record of 46 caps as a forward, has signed a pounds 200,000 deal over three seasons with Leeds. "It's all down to finance," said the Llanelli coach, Gareth Jenkins. "We may still put together a package to alter Phil's mind."

Andy Reed, the British Lions lock, has emerged from rugby's wilderness to make a claim for a place in Scotland's tour party to New Zealand this summer. Reed, named yesterday in the initial squad of 47, recently returned to the game after a injury threatened his career.

Rosslyn Park Sevens, page 23

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