St Helens aim to bounce back after drubbing

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The Independent Online

The St Helen captain Chris Joynt believes that too many people have conveniently forgotten what his side has achieved this season in the light of one bad defeat.

The St Helen captain Chris Joynt believes that too many people have conveniently forgotten what his side has achieved this season in the light of one bad defeat.

Saints go into tonight's opening play-off match against Bradford still smarting from the 38-10 drubbing handed out by Wigan in last week's final Super League fixture. "We've lost one match. We haven't suddenly turned into a bad team," said Joynt, who remembers that last season's successful play-off campaign began with a heavy defeat by the Bulls.

"We've had a great season and the reward for our consistency is that, by finishing second, we get a second bite of the cherry even if we lose this week."

For a match they will nevertheless be eager to win, Saints have Anthony Sullivan back on the left wing after missing last week's defeat with a stomach bug.

Joynt's opposite number, the Bradford captain Robbie Paul says that he is now fully fit, but is not convinced he will reclaim his place in the starting line-up. His elder brother Henry struck up a productive partnership with Paul Deacon during Robbie's absence with rib and lung injuries, although Robbie made a successful comeback playing alongside Deacon at Hull next week.

The Leeds second-row forward Andy Hay has been called into England's squad for the Lincoln World Cup as a replacement for Wigan's Simon Haughton, who has withdrawn with a recurrence of the foot injury that kept him out during the latter stages of the season.

Haughton suffered a reaction after an Alliance game and believes he will not be fit enough to justify his place in the squad. His ability to make an impact off the bench will be missed.

Scotland are trying to clarify the position of Tim Brasher, the Australian full-back who volunteered to play for them in the World Cup. Brasher, a member of the World Cup-winning side in 1995, was named in a strong Scottish party on Wednesday, but has said in Australia that he is no longer available.

Scotland's joint-manager, Michael McDonald, said he had heard reports that Brasher could be placed on stand-by for Australia. "He approached us, so we would be very surprised if he had changed his mind," he said.

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