Saints stretched by loss of Newlove

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Paul Newlove will undergo an Achilles tendon operation today which will rule him out of St Helens' plans for the rest of the season.

The 29-year-old former Great Britain centre was injured in Saturday's Super League defeat at Hull, who climbed above Saints into third place in the table. The news is another blow to St Helens who already have the threequarter Dwayne West ruled out until next year following a shoulder operation and lost the scrum-half Sean Long to a knee problem.

Scotland will have eight survivors from their World Cup campaign in their line-up for tonight's international against France in Lezignan.

The Scots have been hit by the withdrawal of six Super League players, although there are only four new caps in the provisional line-up. Nevertheless, the loss of players like the Bradford pair Graham Mackay and Lee Gilmour clearly threatens to devalue a fixture designed to bridge the gap between the domestic game and the forthcoming Ashes series.

Despite the absences, the Scotland coach, Billy McGinty, is still able to select nine Super League players in his starting 13, including the former Man of Steel Adrian Vowles who will switch from loose forward to stand-off.McGinty's men will be led by Darren Shaw.

FRANCE (v Scotland, Lezignan, 8.0: Guigue; Van Snick, Houles, Dulac, Noguera; Frayssinous, Devecchi (capt); Guisset, Wulf, Gagliazzo, Jampy, Vincent or Shead, Carrasco. Substitutes: Teixido, Shead or Anselme, Sort, Cornut.

SCOTLAND (provisional): J Flowers (Castleford); D Arnold (Salford), D Maiden (Hull), I Higgins (Hunslet), M Crowther (Hull); A Vowles (Castleford), S Rhodes (Sheffield); W McDonald (St Helens), M Dixon (Hull KR), S Cram (London), R Fletcher (Hull), D Shaw (Castleford, capt), N Lowe (Featherstone). Substitutes: N Graham (Dewsbury), J Berry (Rochdale), R McDonald (Dewsbury), G Morton (Leeds).

Referee: I Smith (Oldham).