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RUGBY LEAGUE: Giants' ref switch fury.

A ROW has erupted over the referee for today's Powergen Challenge Cup clash between Huddersfield Giants and St Helens, writes GARETH WALKER.

Oldham official Ian Smith was originally scheduled to take charge of the match, but has now switched games with Ronnie Laughton after the RFL became aware that Smith had attended a fans' forum at Huddersfield in midweek.

The Giants insist that Smith was booked for the event over two months ago, before the fourth-round draw was made.

Giants football manager Stuart Sheard labelled the decision ''a disgrace ... it sets an appalling precedent''.

But Saints chief executive Sean McGuire said the change of referee was made at the insistence of the RFL. He added: ''Anyone in possession of the facts would have acted in exactly the same way as Richard Lewis and we applaud the promptness and firmness of the RFL chairman's response.''

Smith will now take charge of the Batley v Leigh match.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 3, 2005
Words:179
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