Soliola signing boosts St Helens

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The Super League leaders, St Helens, have filled what is arguably their one weak position by signing the New Zealand Test centre, Sia Soliola.

The 22-year-old will arrive next season on a three-year contract. He will be a delayed replacement for his fellow-countryman, Willie Talau, whose contract was not renewed this year.

The Saints coach, Mick Potter, welcomed the recruitment of a specialist in the position. "Sia will add size, speed and athleticism to our back-line and will be a great addition to our squad for next season," he said.

At Knowsley Road, Soliola will link up with former Roosters team-mate, Chris Flannery, and Kiwi colleague Tony Puletua.

The London-bred forward, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, will be one of the new names in the elite training squad to be announced by England coach, Tony Smith. The 22-year-old could be joined in the squad by another Southerner, Tony Clubb.

Another 16 names will be revealed today and it would not be a surprise to find Wigan's Shaun Ainscough or Leeds' Ryan Hall among them.

Other players will be drafted in during the season, but inclusion in this first tranche is not a guarantee of a place in the team to play France in Paris on 13 June.