Blanch to miss start of Super League season with injury

Ireland's World Cup winger, Damien Blanch, has suffered another major setback which will keep him out of the early rounds of the Super League season.

After breaking his hand in Wakefield's Boxing Day friendly at Leeds, Blanch had surgery yesterday and is expected to be out for eight to 10 weeks. He missed most of last season for a full knee reconstruction. Neither Terry Newton nor Kyle Bibb, who both picked up injuries on Boxing Day, are seriously hurt.

Tom Smith, who served Widnes as player, secretary, director and chairman, has died at the age of 81. He was also President of the Rugby Football League in 1998.