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Bulls take points fight to high court

Bradford Bulls are to challenge a points deduction imposed by the Rugby Football League in the High Court.

Bulls to fight points deduction
Bulls to fight points deduction Credit: Press Association

Six points were deducted earlier this year when the club went into administration and an appeal was rejected by a Sporting Sanctions Appeal Panel.

The panel ruled the club has not met the necessary requirements for an appeal to be fully considered.

But after taking advice, the Bulls have now decided to pursue legal action against the RFL.

A spokesperson for the club's board of directors said: "The advice which the club has received is positive and, as a consequence of that indication, it is the club's intention to pursue what are considered to be appropriate legal remedies.

"The decision to do so has not been made lightly and will be continually reviewed to ensure that any action taken is beneficial to the club, players, partners, supporters and the sport as a whole."

The Bulls sit second bottom of the Super League and could be relegated if their form does not improve.

This week they *appointed former Leeds Carnegie boss *James Lowes as a replacement for Francis Cummins who was sacked earlier this month.

Rhinos tie down academy star

Leeds have moved to secure the future of a player they hope will follow in the footsteps of England winger Ryan Hall.

Handley will remain at Headingley for another three years
Handley will remain at Headingley for another three years Credit: Press Association

Threequarter Ash Handley, 18, an England academy international who like Hall comes from Oulton Raiders, has been handed a new three-year contract after scoring 19 tries in 15 appearances for the club's under-19s team this season.

Rhinos coach Brian McDermott said: "We are really pleased to have secured Ash on a long-term contract. He has worked hard this season to improve his game, moving from the wing to centre and that has certainly brought deserved rewards for him. I am sure he will have a bright future at the Rhinos."

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Bulls will be "fired up" says caretaker coach

Bradford caretaker coach Matt Diskin has promised his side will be "fired up" for Friday night's clash with Hull KR.

Matt Diskin
Matt Diskin Credit: Press Association

Diskin has been left to pick up the pieces following the Bulls' crushing 46-18 defeat at Salford last Sunday and the subsequent sacking of head coach Francis Cummins and his long-serving assistant Lee St Hilaire.

Victory against the Robins is a must if Bradford are to keep alive their slender hopes of avoiding relegation from the First Utility Super League and Diskin believes the players are ready for the fight.

Not surprisingly, Diskin has selected himself and, after expressing his dismay at the latest turn of events and agreeing reluctantly to step into the breach, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into his first coaching experience.

Diskin holds his head as his team are beaten during the Tetley's Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Diskin holds his head as his team are beaten during the Tetley's Challenge Cup Quarter Final Credit: Press Association

Cummins labelled his side's defensive efforts against the Red Devils "pathetic" and Diskin knows they must improve drastically if they are overcome a Hull KR side who have themselves conceded 88 points in their last two matches.

The Robins have slipped out of the top eight after suffering heavy back-to-back defeats by Castleford and Warrington and coach Craig Sandercock is hoping a win at Odsal will kick-start their campaign.

Dewsbury Rams secure two players

Two players have put pen to paper at rugby league team Dewsbury Rams.

Kyle Briggs
Kyle Briggs Credit: Press Association

Tommy Gallagher has signed a new deal which will keep him at the club until at least the end of the 2015 season.

The former Leigh man has made forty appearances, scoring nine tries and quickly made himself a crowd favourite.

And chairman Mark Sawyer believes there are more top displays to come from the all-action forward.“Tommy’s playing the best Rugby League of his career at the moment and is clearly enjoying himself at the Rams, which is pleasing for us as a club,” said Sawyer.

Featherstone Rovers half-back Kyle Briggs has signed for the club on an initial one-month loan.

The 26-year-old scored 32 tries in 43 appearances for Rovers during his first stint at the club and also had a spell at Super League side Bradford Bulls.

Bulls forward pens new deal

Bradford have given a two-year contract to 18-year-old forward Sam Bates, who will begin full-time training later this month.

Sam Bates signs new deal
Sam Bates signs new deal Credit: Press Association

The Halifax-born youngster made his Super League debut in the club's record 84-6 defeat by Wigan on Easter Monday but then helped the Bulls to a shock 34-28 win over Warrington a fortnight later.

"I am over the moon to be extending my deal as I really want to make a mark here," Bates said.

"I have played a couple of first-team games this year and was 18th man for another. I loved every minute of it and want to experience much more."

Bradford coach Francis Cummins said: "Sam has all the necessary attributes to go far in the sport. He is tough and aggressive and a full-time contract is just reward for his efforts."

Hardaker given five match ban for comments

Leeds full-back Zak Hardaker has vowed to mend his reputation for the second time in seven months after being found guilty of homophobically abusing a referee.

Zak Hardaker given five match ban
Zak Hardaker given five match ban

An independent Rugby Football League tribunal imposed a five-match suspension on the 22-year-old England international for making the offensive comments during the Rhinos' 24-6 Super League defeat at Warrington 12 days ago.

Hardaker, who last week issued a public apology, admitted the offence when he appeared in front of the tribunal but claimed his remarks were aimed at Warrington captain Michael Monaghan rather than referee James Child and that he was unaware of their connotations.

The tribunal accepted the player is not homophobic but were satisfied that the remarks were made to the match official.

Hardaker was also fined £300 but the punishment could have been worse. The grade E charge he faced carries a ban of between four and eight matches.

Hardaker hit the headlines last November when he was thrown out of England's World Cup squad for a breach of discipline and was subsequently given a £2,500 fine and a warning by his club.

The player responded with a series of impressive displays that earned him a recall to the England squad, although it is not known whether his suspension will affect his appearance at a mid-season training get-together in Loughborough this weekend.

Hardaker, who will start his suspension when Leeds host Huddersfield in a Super League game at Headingley on Thursday night, has pledged to learn from his latest mistake.

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Pitts suspended for first Bulls game

Bradford forward Jay Pitts will miss his first game for the Bulls after accepting a one-match suspension.

Jay Pitts will miss his first Bulls game through suspension
Jay Pitts will miss his first Bulls game through suspension Credit: Press Association

He was banned for a dangerous throw on Warrington's Anthony England during his side's 46-10 Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat.

Pitts, a back-rower who is on a season-long loan from Hull, submitted an early-guilty plea to the grade B offence and will sit out Bradford's trip to Salford on Sunday.

It is another blow to Francis Cummins' squad after prop Antonio Kaufusi chose not to extend his loan spell from Huddersfield

Smith makes Wildcats return

Wakefield Wildcats have resigned former player Tim Smith on loan for the remainder of the season.

Smith makes Wildcats return
Smith makes Wildcats return Credit: Press Association

The 29-year-old moved to Salford Red Devils last August and has since made 12 appearances, scoring two tries.

He returns to Trinity for a second spell after playing an integral part in their push to the 2012 playoffs.

That season Smith racked up 38 assists and won the club's Man of Steel and Members' Player of the Year awards.

Quality shines through eventually for Rhinos in Challenge Cup

Leeds Rhinos were held for much of their Challenge Cup game by a strong defensive performance by Leigh Centurions.

The visitors went 12-6 up but Rhinos levelled the scores before halftime.

It stayed 12-12 until the seventy-second minute when Robbie Ward broke through the Centurions' ranks.

Rhinos pushed on and a Kevin Sinfield drop goal as well as a converted Zak Hardaker try finished the Championship leaders off.

The game at Headlingley finished 25-12 sending Leeds Rhinos through to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.

Eden recalled as Rover's injury troubles mount up

Hull KR have recalled full-back Greg Eden from his loan spell at Salford after losing his replacement, Ben Cockayne, with a serious knee injury.

Greg Eden Credit: Press Association

Cockayne, who has made a successful switch to full-back from the wing, is set to be miss most of the rest of the season after picking up the injury in Sunday's 54-12 defeat at Castleford.

Eden has made five appearances for the Red Devils and, although his initial one-month loan spell was extended, Rovers retained the right to recall him at any time.

Hull KR's heavy defeat at Castleford proved particularly costly, with prop Michael Weyman sent off and subsequently banned for two matches for abusing the referee and second rowers Kevin Larroyer and Jordan Cox both sustaining fractured ankles.

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