League great Long signs for rivals

Sean Long
Sean Long
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FORMER Great Britain RL international Sean Long is crossing codes to join Preston Grasshoppers rugby union club.

The move to Hoppers came after the scrum-half made an unsuccessful approach to Fylde late last week, offering to play for them.

Long, 35, is one of the most high-profile League players of the past decade, having hit the heights with St Helens before finishing his career with Hull.

He joined the coaching staff at Salford City Reds in August but is keen to play union during the Super League close season.

This exciting capture should garner plenty of publicity for the Lighfoot Green club. Ironically, Preston are away to Hull RU on Saturday, though it is not clear whether Long is in the running to appear.

After that, Hoppers visit Stockport before a home match against another Hull club, Ionians, on November 19. Fylde coach Mark Nelson confirmed Long had been in touch with the Woodlands club.

He said: “There was an initial approach made to play at Fylde but he never followed it up.” It was highly unlikely Long would have fitted into their plans in any event.

n FYLDE RU winger/full-back Nick Royle was in Spain today as the England squad warmed up for the HSBC Sevens World Series.

The competition was taking place in Elche, where England face France, Portugal, Spain and Wales.

Royle was joined in the squad by former Woodlands team-mate Dan Bibby, who gets his chance following impressive performances with Sale Sharks in this year’s JP Morgan Premiership Sevens.

The Wigan-born 20-year-old is in the third year of a sports science degree in Cardiff. England head coach Ben Ryan said of Bibby: “I saw him (first) at an England Students sevens talent ID camp. He’s done well with us and the next stage is to see how he shapes up in Spain.”

n FYLDE Wanderers scored a 56-10 win over Vale Of Lune II in the Bateman BMW Premier League.

In Division Two North of the University of Salford competition, Fylde III defeated Kirkby Lonsdale II 30-17, while Fleetwood II maintained top spot with an 81-0 demolition of Blackburn II.

In Division Three North, Fylde IV won 17-13 away to Ormskirk II and Fylde V beat Garstang II 44-10.

Fleetwood III edged out Tarleton II 27-26 in Division Four North , in which Blackpool lost 12-8 at home to Burnley II.

BAe Warton won 17-15 away to Thornton Cleveleys II in Division Five North.