Pryce set to miss opening weekend

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The Independent Online

Leon Pryce is out of St Helens' side to play Wigan in the highlight of the opening day of the engage Super League season tomorrow. The former Test stand-off missed the Grand Final between the two sides at Old Trafford last October with a neck injury. That has cleared up, but he has been ruled out of the game in Cardiff with a groin problem.

Kyle Eastmond, who has not played competitively since September and has been attracting rugby union attention, returns after an ankle operation and Saints give debuts to their new signings, Michael Shenton and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.

Champions Wigan are without their Test prop Stuart Fielden following knee surgery, Brett Finch and Pat Richards, but two of their signings from Melbourne, Jeff Lima and Ryan Hoffman, will make their first appearances.

In the first of the day's four matches, the Grix brothers, Scott and Simon, are set to face each other when Huddersfield meet Warrington. Huddersfield's Scott has one of the hardest tasks of the weekend, coming in at full-back for Brett Hodgson, who makes his debut for the Wolves.

The wooden-spoon favourites, Wakefield Trinity, have to go outside their 25-man squad for their opening match against Castleford, promoting their reserve prop, Russ Spiers, to the senior side.

For their match against the Catalan Dragons, Harlequins' new faces are headed by the Australian pair, Chris Bailey and Nick Kouparitsas.

The Rugby League says that ticket sales for the weekend, which also includes three matches on Sunday, are around the 40,000 mark. Crusaders, who play Salford in the first of those games, have sent promising full-back Elliott Kear to Hunslet on loan.