Sculthorpe looks forward to 'big challenge' as new captain

Click to follow
The Independent Online

St Helens have unveiled Great Britain international Paul Sculthorpe as their new captain. The 26-year-old, twice a winner of the Man of Steel award, takes over from Chris Joynt, who stepped down last week after seven years to concentrate on the final year of his contract.

Sculthorpe, whose first outing as captain is likely to be a pre-season friendly with Salford on 6 February, said: "It's going to be a big challenge taking over from Chris because he's been the most successful captain the club's had but it's a great honour and I'm looking forward to it. This is going to be a big season for the club."

Sculthorpe, who has made 172 appearances since joining St Helens from Warrington in 1998, is also seen as a possible long-term successor to the Great Britain captain Andy Farrell, who will be 29 this year.

The appointment is likely to finally end speculation over Sculthorpe's future at St Helens, with Bradford having been linked with a £400,000 bid.

The veteran administrator Maurice Lindsay steps down from the Rugby League International Federation after a near-unbroken run of 18 years. The 62-year-old Wigan chairman who was chief executive of the Rugby Football League from 1992 to 1997, will retire as vice-chairman of the RLIF at the annual meeting in Sydney on Monday.

Lindsay, who was Great Britain manager from 1988 to 1993, intends to stay at Wigan, where he was largely responsible for the club's unparalleled success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was credited with the success of the 1995 World Cup and is likely to be invited to play a role in organising the next tournament, probably in Australia in 2008.

The Castleford centre Francis Maloney will have to fill the goal-kicking boots of Danny Orr following the former captain's close-season move to Wigan. The Australian Sean Rudder, 24, has been recruited from Newcastle Knights to take over Orr's stand-off role, but the 30-year-old Maloney, now in his second spell with the Tigers, has been handed kicking duties.

Leeds, who have a new head coach in Tony Smith, have parted company with the sports psychologist Darren Robinson. Robinson, a former professional footballer, was appointed at the start of the 2003 season to work alongside Smith's predecessor Daryl Powell.