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Former Bulls coach wins wrongful dismissal case

Former Bradford Bulls head coach Francis Cummins has won his case for wrongful dismissal against his old club.

Francis Cummings has won his case for wrongful dismissal against Bradford Bulls Credit: Press Association

The 38-year-old former Leeds and Great Britain winger was in charge of the Bulls from September 2012 to June 2014 when he was sacked by the current administration with the team in danger of relegation from Super League.

Cummins had 18 months left on his three-year contract and took his case to the Leeds County Court, which delivered its verdict after a two-day hearing.

Cramer's Leeds-based lawyer Richard Cramer told Press Association Sport: "Francis has won his case. This brings to an end two difficult years for him.

"Damages are to be assessed at a later date but Bradford have been ordered to pay £20,000 in costs on account."

Former Labour MP and Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe, a one-time club director, and former owner of the Bulls, Omar Khan, gave evidence on Cummins' behalf.

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Bulls land Featherstone's Mendeika

Bradford have signed Ireland international James Mendeika from Championship rivals Featherstone.

Bradford have signed Ireland international James Mendeika from Championship rivals Featherstone. Credit: Bradford Bulls

The 23-year-old former Warrington and London Broncos utility back, who appeared in all of Ireland's group games against Australia, Fiji and England in the 2013 World Cup, has joined the Bulls with immediate effect on a deal that takes him through to the end of the 2017 season.

"It is great to be back within a full-time environment and I am looking forward to repaying the faith the club has shown in me," said Mendeika.

Bradford coach James Lowes, who coached Mendeika during his time in charge of Warrington, said: "James is a very talented, up-and-coming player and we are pleased to have secured his services.

"Injuries have set him back a little over the past couple of years but he has a long career ahead and he is certainly looking to make a name for himself here."

Lauaki signs for Bulls

Bradford Bulls have signed former Hull and Wigan front-rower Epalahame Lauaki on a two-year contract.

The 30-year-old former New Zealand and Tonga international joins the relegated Bulls from NRL side Manly Sea Eagles, where he spent the majority of last season after leaving Wigan

"Epalahame is an extremely talented individual and we are really pleased to have secured his services.

"He has an explosive approach and comes with an ability to wreak havoc in short spells.

"Epalahame gives us something I believe we don't currently have. He certainly adds to an already impressive squad and will prove vital for some of our young and upcoming forwards.

"We have a young roster, so the experience he brings will certainly help aid the future progress of the likes of Dan Fleming, Samir Tahraoui and Karl Davies."

– James Lowes, Bradford Bulls head coach

The 6ft, near-18st Lauaki, who twice played against England for the Exiles during his stint in Super League, becomes the 30th member of the Bulls squad for the 2015 Championship campaign.

"I am so excited to be joining such a big and well-known club like Bradford.

"I believe I will bring some experience and toughness to our team and I cannot wait to get started.

"The Championship is a challenge I am looking forward to. We will be going up against some good teams, who will be certainly looking forward to playing us.

"There is a really solid squad in place at Bradford but I want to be in the 17, which means I have plenty of hard work ahead of me."

– Epalahame Lauaki, Bradford Bulls' new signing

Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire given Bulls role

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire has been appointed to the Bradford Bulls board as an non-executive director.

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire with Robbie Hunter-Paul Credit: Bradford Bulls

Jasbir Singh Athwal has supported the Bulls for over 30 years – both on a personal level and through business.

“I am really pleased to be a part of the club I have supported for more than 30 years,” said Athwal.

“The chairman, Marc Green, has put a fantastic team in place and I am very impressed with what he had to say about the direction he plans to take the club in.

“I feel honoured to have been asked to come on board and, given the fantastic work being done by directors and staff at the Bulls, I had little hesitation in agreeing to come on board.

“I believe I can bring plenty of experience to the table, having played the game from a young age, and, from a business perspective, I am able to bring a host of new contacts to the club through my network.

“Whatever is asked of me, I will do everything in my power to deliver and help this, the club I adore, reach great heights all over again.”

Bulls chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul is a close friend of Mr Athwal and has spoken of his delight, having secured his “invaluable” services.

Hunter-Paul said: “I would firstly like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jas after being awarded the honour and duty of Deputy Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire.

“I have known Jas for almost 20 years, when he first became friends with both myself and Henry (Paul).

“It brings me great pleasure to formally introduce him to the club and I am certain his experience in the local business world will hugely benefit the club commercially.

“Jas is a great person and if you spend a moment in his company you will understand exactly what I mean.

“Bradford Bulls, and Bradford Northern, have played an important part in his family’s lives over the years and his knowledge of the game itself is second to none.”

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Walker appointed Bradford Bulls Captain

Former Great Britain international Chev Walker has been appointed Bradford Bulls' new captain ahead of their 2015 Kingstone Press Championship campaign.

Chev Walker Credit: Bradford Bulls

The 32-year-old former Leeds and Hull KR centre, who will be embarking on his fifth season at Odsal, takes over from Matt Diskin, who retired at the end of the 2014 season.

"Selecting Chev as captain was a fairly straightforward decision for me to make," said Bulls coach James Lowes.

"His leadership skills are second to none and he is the ultimate professional."

West Yorkshire derby for Peacock testimonial

Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls are to play each other in the New Year to honour Jamie Peacock, who played for both the West Yorkshire clubs.

West Yorkshire derby for Peacock testimonial Credit: Press Association

The game will be on 25 January at Headingley stadium and could be the only time the clubs meet this season following the Bulls' relegation to the Championship.

Peacock won three Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and two world club titles between 1999 and 2005 with Bradford before moving to his home town club in 2006. At the Rhinos he has continued his incredible run of success with five more Grand Final wins, two World titles and last year's Challenge Cup Final win.

As the last pre-season game before the Rhinos begin their Super League campaign, Head Coach Brian McDermott is expected to name a strong side.

England boss left frustrated after Four Nations defeat

England coach Steve McNamara spoke of his frustration after watching his side suffer another heartbreaking defeat that puts them on the brink of elimination from the Four Nations Series.

England Head Coach Steve McNamara Credit: Press Association

There was a touch of deja vu as New Zealand followed up their last-minute 20-18 win in last November's World Cup semi-final with a 16-14 triumph in Dunedin that secures them a place in next Saturday's final in Wellington.

England could yet play the Kiwis in the final but only if minnows Samoa beat defending champions Australia by fewer than eight points in the last round-robin game in Wollongong on Sunday.

Ryan Hall's controversially disallowed try against Australia in Melbourne last Sunday will now come back to haunt England but they will also feel cruelly denied by the woodwork at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, where Gareth Widdop's first two conversion attempts rebounded off the uprights.

"We are frustrated," McNamara told BBC2.

"We were a fingernail away last week and a width of a goalpost on a couple of occasions this week. We've been involved in three tremendous Test matches.

"They're a young group and we've got some young players within that and to apply themselves the way they have done and to attack the competition the way they've done is a credit to them.

"As we speak now, we're still in it with a chance if Samoa win but we're desperately close."

Needing to win by 10 points to make the final, England's task grew after conceding the first of Jason Nightingale's two tries inside two minutes but Hall and fellow winger Josh Charnley scored tries before half-time to keep them in contention.

Manu Vatuvei's try early in the second half made it 16-8 and, although Hall grabbed a second to extend his record try haul to 24 in just 23 appearances, England once more came up just short.

The former Bradford Bulls boss added: "In the first half I felt we started to get control but New Zealand are a very good team and they hit us with a couple of sucker punches.

"We came out firing at the start of the second half, Josh nearly went in at the corner and Ryan Hall got one disallowed.

"We just allowed New Zealand a couple of offloads that allowed them to get to the other end of the field a little bit too easily.

"Both teams were absolutely out on their feet. There was nothing left at the end.

"It was an unbelievable Test match. We'll come back strongly from this."

England spurned an opportunity to secure a draw with a last-minute kick at goal as they went for the all-important win and captain Sean O'Loughlin did not believe the 10-point target played on their minds.

"We were just going out to get the win and, if we were in a good position, we knew we might have to push the ball to get a try but we were just trying to get that win to start off with," O'Loughlin said.

"It's disappointing but credit to our boys. We had a great dig at them but just fell short.

"It's out of our hands now. We wanted to get there by our own right but we've not done that, which is tough at the minute, but we'll just wait and see what happens now."

Will Burgess bow out on a high?

Dewsbury born Sam Burgess will be hoping to end his rugby league career on a high today as he plays in the Australian NRL Grand Final.

Final game: Sam Burgess is set to switch codes after the NRL Grand Final Credit: Press Association

The former Bradford Bulls forward is set to play against the Canterbury Bulldogs and feature alongside his brothers Tom, George and Luke.

Burgess is set to switch codes after agreeing a lucrative contract with Bath and has been tipped to feature in the Rugby Union World Cup for England next year.

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