Clinton Toopi out for five months

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The Independent Online

The Super League champions, Leeds, go into tonight’s derby against Bradford in the knowledge that they will be without Clinton Toopi for most of this campaign.

The New Zealand centre has had an operation on the shoulder he dislocated in the World Club Challenge victory over the Melbourne Storm and it has revealed that the damage is worse than first thought, ruling him out for five months.

Gareth Ellis is likely to continue in his place in his old position of centre at Headingley this evening, whilst Ryan Bailey’s groin strain could mean a debut for 18-year-old Danny Allan.

Some extra spice has been added to a fixture that rarely needs any by Jamie Peacock’s revelations in his autobiography, No White Flag, about the circumstances of his leaving Bradford for Leeds three years ago.

The Great Britain captain claims that the Bulls lied to him about having no money to improve his contract, but then signing Iestyn Harris.

“I knew then I had been lied to….and the breakdown in trust proved terminal,” he said.

Harris, still the subject of litigation between the two clubs, could be recalled after being left out of the last two games. Bradford, four points behind Leeds in sixth place, are down to their last 17 fit players, according to their coach, Steve McNamara.

The National League programme begins tonight with the visit of relegated Salford, still without the recuperating Robbie Paul following his neck operation, to Leigh.

The mid-season international against France has been confirmed for Toulouse on 27 June. The England coach, Tony Smith, will select his strongest side, with the autumn’s World Cup in mind, and there will be no Super League matches that Friday night.