Stephenson to be charged

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RUGBY LEAGUE

David Stephenson, the Oldham hooker, is to be hauled up on a tripping charge despite escaping being sent off in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup semi- final against Wigan on Saturday, writes Dave Hadfield. Stephenson was placed on report by the referee, Russell Smith, after tripping Va'aiga Tuigamala and will face a disciplinary hearing tomorrow.

Confusion reigned at the time, with both sides hesitating after appearing to hear the whistle and Tuigamala finally scoring. The director of referees' coaching, Greg McCallum, has, however, defended the handling of the situation: "It seems to have been a logical sequence of events."

Any punishment for Stephenson could be academic. He is likely to miss the rest of the season with a broken thumb and was due to be replaced by John Clarke in last night's match against Castleford, which was postponed because of heavy snow.

Gary Tees, of Warrington, reported for alleged use of the elbow against Salford on Sunday, has been ruled to have no case to answer.

Denis Betts has joined Wigan's list of casualties from the semi-final with a damaged shoulder.

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