Soliola signing boosts St Helens

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.

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