Ban for striking hits Sculthorpe

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The Independent Online

The St Helens and Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe will miss Friday's game at Warrington after being banned for one match for striking. Sculthorpe, just two matches into his comeback from major knee surgery, was found guilty of hitting Leeds' Ryan Bailey after being called to last night's disciplinary hearing on video evidence.

The Super League favourites will also be without James Graham, who was suspended for two matches for a late tackle on the Rhinos' Rob Burrow in the same game. Saints, who are appealing against both suspensions, will have their pack further depleted for the next six weeks by the absence of Nick Fozzard with medial ligament trouble. The Great Britain prop did the damage against Castleford on 17 February.

The St Helens coach Daniel Anderson has given Leon Pryce cautious praise after his man-of-the-match performance in the victory over Leeds last weekend. Pryce played a key role in the win but Anderson said: "Leon has a long way to go in his development as a stand-off. His biggest asset is his ability to test the defensive line but there are other aspects of his game that need to improve."

Willie Manu expects to be available to make his delayed debut for Castleford in their game against Wigan on 19 March. The former St George Illawarra forward is due to fly in four days earlier after completing a community service order for assault.

Manu's former club is the latest to face investigation by the National Rugby League for exceeding its salary cap. If the Australian club is forced to shed players, that could open the possibility of an early release for the likes of Trent Barrett and Shaun Timmins, both of whom have hinted that they would like to finish their careers in England.

Cambridge beat Oxford 44-0, the biggest winning margin in the 26-year history of the Varsity match, at the Twickenham Stoop last night.

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