Paul ready to conquer fans at The Stoop

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The Independent Online

Henry Paul will return to rugby league today after just one training session with his new team-mates, but his new coach is unconcerned with the details of how he will fit in. Tony Rea is likely to slot in his illustrious new signing - who has been released by the Gloucester rugby union club - at stand-off or loose forward for Harlequins RL against Huddersfield.

"But he'll play where he plays," said Rea. "It's not very position-specific with Henry."

Quins already have three creative fulcrums in Mark McLinden, Luke Dorn and Thomas Leuluai, but Rea does not believe that it is possible to have too much of a good thing. "We should be able to ask a few questions," said Rea. One of those responsible for coming up with answers is Paul's younger brother, Robbie, who will play scrum-half for Huddersfield.

"It will be great to play against the old man again and hopefully I'll run circles around him," he said. "He's so stubborn that even if he doesn't have his fitness he will tell himself that he has.

"He is built for this game of rugby league. It never leaves you, but hopefully it won't come back for him in time for this weekend."

Harlequins hope that Paul's presence will persuade union fans at The Stoop for the first half of today's cross-code double-header to stay on to see him play his original brand of rugby. Chris Thorman, meanwhile, is out for six weeks with a broken thumb.

Tomorrow sees the newly arrived Australian, Peter Sharp, take charge of coaching Hull for the first time, at home to Wigan. The former Manly head coach replaces John Kear, who was sacked earlier this month, and could be without one of his key players for his debut match. Richard Horne injured a shoulder in training, and the 18-year-old half-back, Tommy Lee, is standing by as a replacement, and Sid Domic is also rated as doubtful. Gareth Raynor and Garreth Carvell are also among the absentees for what threatens to be a tricky start for the new man.

Wigan, for Brian Noble's second match as coach, are without experienced winger Brett Dallas with a groin strain but have Mark Calderwood fit to return, and have taken Nathan McAvoy on loan from Leeds.

Peter Lupton, on loan from Hull, is set to make his debut at half-back for Castleford against Salford.

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