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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 21:05 GMT
Leeds reject Gibbs link
Gibbs has made it clear he favours a return to rugby league
Leeds have ruled out a move for Welsh rugby union star Scott Gibbs, but admitted they would be interested in replacing the injured Paul Bell with former All Black Va'aiga Tuigamala.

The Rhinos have two vacancies on their overseas quota following their decision to terminate the contract of Australian centre Bell, just four games into a two-year deal.

It's very disappointing for Paul and the club. He is an excellent professional who has become very popular with the players

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington
Bell, signed from Australian champions Melbourne Storm at the end of last season, will return home to have surgery on his shoulder, damaged in the 42-10 Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Dewsbury 10 days ago.

The Challenge Cup holders have been linked with Gibbs, the former St Helens dual international, who comes out of contract with Swansea later this year, and who has made no secret of his admiration for the 13-a-side code.

Va'aiga Tuigamala could return to rugby league
Tuigamala, 30, was a huge success with Wigan after switching codes in 1993, but moved back into rugby union with Newcastle four years later in a deal thought to be worth around 1m.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: "We've no plans to talk to Scott Gibbs but, if Tuigamala was available and fit enough and affordable, he would be of interest."

Tuigamala is still contracted for another two years with Newcastle, who are still paying instalments on a 750,000 transfer fee to Wigan.

Leeds would be interested in a short-term summer deal, although Hetherington made it clear that the Super League giants are in no rush to replace Bell.

"We've nobody lined up," Hetherington said. "Apart from affordability - there is a salary cap issue - a lot depends on who might be available and over the next few days we will find that out."

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