SAINTS progressed to the Fifth Round of the Challenge Cup courtesy of a 52-26 win over Sheffield Eagles… but are once again counting the cost.Injuries to Andrew Dixon, Kyle Eastmond and Nathan Ashe took the gloss off the victory and the trio are unlikely to play in next Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield.“Dicko has a hip injury – it is bruised and we couldn’t get him back on,” Royce Simmons said. “Kyle has a groin strain and had to come off and Nathan a knee problem which flared up again.”He continued: “You have to give credit to Sheffield – they can play some footy and like running the ball. They have also been playing well so we were wary of them.“We comfortably led but seemed to try to survive the last few minutes to avoid injuries and they ran in some points.“We had great field position in the first half and they had to come off their line a lot. But that wasn’t the case in the second half. You have to give them a big rap for their effort. They had nothing to lose and came to play that way.“I thought Jon Wilkin and Francis Meli did well. Jon does things at speed and gets results. You cannot fault his workrate and he’s still learning to be a half back.“Franny did some good things again today. Generally you know if your centre is playing well because your winger is scoring. Jamie Foster is doing that at the moment and a lot of that is off the back of Franny’s work.”The Cup Draw is after the Halifax-Bradford match on Sunday.
GOAL kicking sensation Jamie Foster has signed a new two-year deal with St. Helens.The wing/three-quarter made his debut against Toulouse in 2010 and has gone on to record 574 points in 48 games.Foster, 21, stated: “I’m really happy to re-sign with my home town club for a further two seasons. I’ve benefited a lot from the first team experience that I’ve gained in my first two seasons in Super League, which has involved me in two Grand Finals already.“There’s a lot of competition for places in the first team this season and the squad is raring to get playing in our new ground, Langtree Park.”Coach Royce Simmons added: “Jamie is one of the best goal kickers in the world. He already has a great amount of first team experience for a 21-year-old and this new deal gives him the opportunity to continue his progress and development as a wing three quarter.“He is more than capable of doing this.”
SAINTS have named their 19-man squad for Friday’s First Utility Super League Super 8s clash with Hull FC.Theo Fages, Oliver Davies (pictured) and Shannon McDonnell are all included in the side once more, with Jack Ashworth also called up.Keiron Cunningham will select his 17 from:1. Jonny Lomax, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 15. Greg Richards, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 19. Theo Fages, 20. Joe Greenwood, 22. Jack Owens, 23. Shannon McDonnell, 24. Matty Fleming, 26. Oliver Davies, 27. Jack Ashworth, 28. Morgan Knowles.Lee Radford will choose his 19 from:1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Leon Pryce, 8. Scott Taylor, 10. Liam Watts, 13. Jordan Abdull, 14. Feka Paleaaesina, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Dean Hadley, 19. Steve Michaels, 20. Curtis Naughton, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. Frank Pritchard, 24. Kirk Yeaman, 25. Jansin Turgut, 30. Danny Washbrook.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee is C Campbell.Ticket details can be found here.
Holbrook named his 19 man squad earlier today with Joseph Paulo coming back into the 19 man squad in place of Zeb Taia who has been ruled out for 6 weeks with a dislocated shoulder in the only change.And at a joint press conference with our hosts, we asked him if Friday night’s clash will be the biggest game of the season so far:“Yes definitely, said Holbrook. To go into round 20 with first against second is the biggest game you are going to get this year to date and it is going to be a cracking game.“It is a massive game and it is looking to be a sell out which will mean it will be a terrific atmosphere here and it is going to be an awesome game.”Warrington have told us the ‘Wolves are waiting’, but the Saints wait for no one as we fly high at the top of the Betfred Super League table as both clubs exchanged words ahead of the big game.“I am a fan of the social media build up as long as it doesn’t go over the top,” said Holbrook. We need a bit more publicity in rugby league and I don’t think any club has overstepped the mark so it is good promotion for the game.”Holbrook believes the Wolves have threats all over the field whilst he doesn’t believe Saints’ win earlier in the season will mean we have any physiological advantage over our opponents come Friday.“The whole side have threats. Whenever you are sitting first and second there are no weaknesses in either side so I think both sides know that and we have got to play our best to win on Friday.“No I don’t think it does [give us a physiological advantage] because it only motivates them even more to try and get one over us. It was great to win back in round 10 and it was a similar build up with first against second and we were good enough to win so we want to be good enough to win again on Friday.”Zeb Taia was ruled out of Friday’s clash with an injury he picked up in the win over Leeds Rhinos last week and Holbrook admits it could hve been worse for our big forward.“In the end it is probably good new for Zeb avoiding surgery. We knew it was bad after the game so we weren’t expecting any better results so the fact he is only out for six weeks is a good result and we will have Morgan Knowles and Joseph Paulo coming back in so Zebby was playing terrific, but we will be OK.”Tickets for Saints top of the table clash with Warrington on Friday are still available and are on sale from the Ticket Office, via 01744 455 052 and online here.Tickets for Saints Coral Challenge Cup Semi Final against Halifax, Saturday July 27 (KO 4:30pm) at the University of Bolton Stadium, are also on sale by clicking here.