Lavea's refusal adds to half-back woe at Widnes

Widnes have failed in a bid for another international stand-off and have an extra problem at half-back for today's visit of St Helens with Ryan Sheridan struggling to recover from a bout of illness.

Having admitted defeat in their attempt to sign Henry Paul from rugby union's Gloucester, the Vikings lowered their sights to try to recruit Tasesa Lavea, who played alongside him for New Zealand in the 2000 World Cup, but has had his career blighted by injury since. Lavea had agreed terms, but has now decided to stay in Australia, where he has played for Melbourne and the Northern Eagles, leaving Widnes still lacking in a key position.

Dean Lawford has been filling in at stand-off, but he could be needed at scrum-half if Sheridan is still unwell after being unable to train this week, forcing the Widnes coach, Neil Kelly, to improvise at No 6.

Saints could be without Paul Sculthorpe, as well as Martin Gleeson, Keiron Cunningham, Paul Wellens and their first choice stand-off, Tommy Martyn, who has broken his arm.

The gate for the derby at the Halton Stadium could help Super League towards a record aggregate for a round of six matches. The best ever recorded is 55,374 in April 2000 and Hull's attendance boom, reflected again by the crowd for the visit of London last night, got this weekend off to a flying start.

It will get new impetus tomorrow, when Bradford return to Odsal after a two-year exile at Valley Parade. The significance of the homecoming should add several thousand to the numbers wanting to see what has been rather a routine task against Wakefield in recent years.

If the event has the emotional pull the Bulls hope it will have, even the record of 62,274, for a seven-game round in 1999, could be under threat – something Super League will be delighted to point to at the end of a season when it must renegotiate its television contract.

Robbie Paul could miss out for Bradford, while Jamie Field returns for Trinity in place of Clinton O'Brien.

Leeds's visit to Warrington should also play its part in bumping up the figures. Injuries to Chris McKenna and Danny Ward make the Rhinos look a little more vulnerable than they might normally have been to a Warrington side which has shown signs of improvement this season. Chev Walker and Chris Feather come in.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas