Royce Simmons could miss start of St Helens season

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The Independent Online

St Helens’ new coach, Royce Simmons, could miss the start of the Super League season after flying home to Australia because of a family illness.

Simmons is due back on Thursday, but any delay will make it uncomfortably close to Saints’ opening fixture, against Wigan in Cardiff on Saturday. His assistant, Kieron Purtill, will take care of first-team matters during his absence.

The Wakefield assistant coach and former Great Britain prop, Paul Broadbent, has been appointed to Italy’s coaching staff for the qualifying matches for the 2013 World Cup. Broadbent will assist the former Salford forward, Carlo Napolitano, who is Italy’s head coach.

The former Great Britain captain, Garry Schofield, returned to coaching after a 12-tear gap with a 24-20 victory by Barrow over York in the Northern Rail Cup.

Schofield, who has pledged to provide the sort of entertaining rugby that he has been calling for during his years out of the game, said that he was far from satisfied with his first competitive game in charge.

“We got to 24-10 and didn’t go on with it, because some players’ egos took over,” he said. “Overall, I’m disappointed, but it’s a win and it’s a start.”

Super League applicants Widnes had a big victory at London Skolars, winning 62-18. Keighley Cougars, playing for the first time under their new player-coach, Jason Demetriou, beat Rochdale 24-6.