GB captain Sculthorpe out for season

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The Independent Online

Great Britain's absent captain, Paul Sculthorpe, has ruled himself out of the rest of St Helens' season by bringing forward his knee operation. Sculthorpe, who had already withdrawn from this autumn's Tri-Nations in order to have the surgery at the end of the season, was in Saints' squad for tonight's play-off against Hull, victory in which would take them into the Super League Grand Final.

After struggling in training, however, he has decided to stand aside and have the operation next Monday on a knee that has troubled him for two years.

His coach, Daniel Anderson, called it "a courageous decision" and said that, although Sculthorpe would miss the start of next season, he was confident of him playing a big role in it.

Hull are the only side to have emerged victorious from Knowsley Road this season, having won 27-26 there in June. "They've shown what they can do when they're on song," Anderson said.

Peter Sharp admits his Hull side are underdogs, but there is no sign of a lack of confidence among his players. "We've been there once and got a result so there's no reason why we can't do it again," the Hull scrum-half, Richard Horne, said.

The former England captain, Ryan Hudson, is to rejoin his first club, Huddersfield, when his two-year ban for drug use expires in January. Hudson was suspended for testing positive for a banned steroid shortly after joining Bradford from Castleford and will combine playing for the Giants with an educational role for the club.

Sean Penkywicz, who also tested positive for a steroid while playing for Huddersfield in 2005, is to join Halifax when his two-year suspension runs out in March.

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