Rugby: Injured Scales will miss final

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The Independent Online
Jon Scales, the Bradford Bulls' winger, is out of the side for the Silk Cut Challenge Cup final at Wembley tomorrow. Scales, the player who swung the semi-final last season with a hat-trick of tries and also scored in the final, has a thigh injury and cannot play in the repeat against St Helens.

"He strained a thigh against Halifax two weeks ago and is not fit enough to play," said the Bulls' coach, Matthew Elliott, as the squad arrived at their southern headquarters.

Elliott is likely to play Danny Peacock and Paul Cook on the wings, although Abi Ekoku - the brother of Wimbledon footballer Efan - is also in the squad.

Bradford are likely to have Graeme Bradley and Paul Loughlin in the centres and Glen Tomlinson alongside Robbie Paul, their captain, at half-back.

"But I still have one or two things to consider," said Elliott, who has admitted to having sleepless nights wondering who to leave out.

Nathan Graham, who was vilified after the mistakes that arguably cost Bradford the Cup last year, is in the running for a place among the substitutes.

St Helens took a 19-man squad to their London base yesterday, including both Alan Hunte and Derek McVey, but a decision on the involvement of both could be left until tomorrow morning.

Hunte could even be put through a pre-match fitness test at Wembley - in the manner of Ellery Hanley in 1991 - before a decision is made on whether his torn hamstring has healed.

Saints' squad includes five men who have not played at Wembley before: McVey, plus the New Zealander, Julian O'Neill, Chris Morley, Paul Anderson and Andy Haigh.