Featherstone and Leigh given special dispensation to sign players ahead of Shield final

Featherstone boss John Duffy
Featherstone boss John Duffy

Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions have been granted dispensation by the RFL to sign additional players ahead of Sunday's Championship Shield final.

Both clubs have struggled with injuries and departures since the start of the Shield campaign, with Featherstone forced to play with less than 17 players on several occasions.

Rovers named just 16 men for their clash with Barrow Raiders on Sunday while Leigh only had 13 players available for their fixture against Dewsbury Rams.

Featherstone were then hit by the suspensions of John Davies and Anthony Thackeray yesterday evening, leaving head coach John Duffy with further selection problems.

But after a meeting between Championship and League One clubs today, this year's Shield finalists will now be allowed to bring in additional players, on loan, before Sunday's showdown.

An RFL statement read: "In response to a request by Leigh Centurions and Featherstone Rovers, and after consultation with the other Championship and League One clubs, the Rugby Football League has agreed to grant a dispensation to both clubs to register, on loan, additional players ahead of Sunday’s Championship Shield Final.

"After taking into account all relevant factors, the Board of the Rugby Football League believes that there are exceptional circumstances that justify this dispensation. This position was unanimously supported by the Championship and League One clubs at a meeting today.

"The dispensation will be limited to current Academy players who have not played at first team level."