Hull's new Australian forward, Peter Cusack, will mark his competitive debut for the club by captaining them in their opening Super League fixture tomorrow night. The former Sydney City and South Sydney prop will stand in for the regular captain, Lee Radford, whose broken wrist makes him one of at least half a dozen Hull first-teamers who will miss the game.
Their coach, Peter Sharp, has no qualms about Cusack's credentials. "Peter is tremendously experienced and has already shown his leadership qualities in training," he said.
Cusack, who captained Souths during his time with them, described the appointment as "a great honour, especially with a new club".
At the other end of the scale, the injury crisis at Hull has forced the inclusion of the newly signed 18-year-old, Tom Briscoe, as back-up for the wings. Warrington have named one of their crop of young forwards, Steve Pickersgill, in place of the injured Paul Wood.
Adam Fletcher, the Australian winger who is on a month's trial with Castleford, has been included in their squad for their first game back in Super League, at their Jungle home against the Catalan Dragons on Saturday.
Fletcher, who has an EU passport, played for Cas in 2006, but has been out of the game since. He shores up a squad which restarts life in Super League with just two players unavailable through injury – Ryan Clayton and Kirk Dixon.
The Dragons will be led from scrum-half by Casey McGuire, who has the daunting task of taking over from the now retired Stacey Jones.
The Dragons coach, Mick Potter, is still looking for the replacement No 7 he could not find over the winter, but in the meantime will draft in McGuire from stand-off.
"I haven't had a heap of experience at half-back but I'm really looking forward to the challenge," McGuire said. "Depending on how I go, Mick is still going to keep an eye open for a scrum-half, but hopefully I can do the job for the first half of the year anyway."
The Hull KR hooker, Ben Fisher, will again be missing from the side to play St Helens on Sunday with a wrist injury.
The rebranding of the national team as England rather than Great Britain has continued with the launch of a new logo, featuring the cross of St George and the date 1895 – the year rugby split from rugby union. England will compete in tournaments and Test series' from now on, including this year's World Cup, for which Ireland and Scotland have also qualified.Reuse content