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Rugby League

Opportunity knocks for Wood as Huddersfield adjust without Brough

Much will depend this weekend on the availability or otherwise for their clubs of players involved in the Exiles match last night, but Huddersfield already know that they will be without their main man.

Danny Brough was ruled out for England after damaging ankle ligaments last Sunday and will be missing from the Giants' ranks for the next two months. The Huddersfield coach, Nathan Brown, will promote the 21-year-old reserve half-back, Kyle Wood, in his place against Wakefield tomorrow.

"It's obviously disappointing news for us, because Danny has been in consistently good form," he said. "He had earned the right to play for England."

Brown also believes that Wood, who has been playing for Sheffield Eagles under a dual registration contract, has earned his chance. "He is a young player who has waited patiently for a year or so to get his shot," he said.

Wood is likely to have the Giants' captain, Kevin Brown, alongside him after missing last week and Shaun Lunt should also be fit to return.

Like a number of clubs, however, Huddersfield will be waiting to see how their three players selected for the International Origin match come through. On the other hand, Wakefield's only potential representative, Glenn Morrison, was 18th man for the Exiles at Headingley and will be fresh to play for his club.

There is an even bigger contrast at Warrington, where the Super League leaders had eight players on duty in Leeds, whilst their opponents tomorrow, Salford, had none.

They do have players, like Luke Patten, Daniel Holdsworth and Ray Cashmere, who must have regarded themselves as candidates. With the Origin factor in play, they might now sense an opportunity to run the Wolves much closer than they would otherwise have done and, just conceivably, beat them.

The same considerations apply at Leeds, where the Rhinos, with five men on duty last night, face Hull KR, who rather surprisingly had none. Rovers are starting to run into some form and the incentive for players overlooked by both England and the Exiles is obvious.

Wigan have seven players who were selected for those two sides, which could make them vulnerable at Castleford. The Tigers had just one player potentially backing-up, but he is an important one, so they will have been watching Rangi Chase's involvement with interest.

Although St Helens' hooker James Roby was ruled out of the England side with a fractured eye-socket, there is a chance that he might be able to play at Bradford tomorrow. Much could hinge on how their six players come through the Exiles game, whilst it is a sign of the times that the once-mighty Bulls had nobody required at Headingley.

Hull, with one England player and three Exiles involved in the big game, could concede an advantage in freshness to Harlequins, while the situation in today's one game is quite simple, with Catalans, now up to fifth position in the table, and Crusaders both able to concentrate exclusively on that match.