Rugby League: McRae is poised for Saints role

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

St Helens expect to know today when they will be able to welcome their new coach to succeed Eric Hughes, who was sacked on Wednesday.

The Canberra Raiders' assistant coach, Shaun McRae, is favourite for the job after impressing Saints at specialist sessions he laid on for them during the World Cup. He could start his new job this weekend.

"We have some business to sort out," Saints' chief executive, David Howes, said. The decision to dispense with Hughes's services after two years was made before Saturday's Regal Trophy final defeat by Wigan, he added. Hughes is considering suing for wrongful dismissal and the initial reaction of a number of Saints' players was one of dismay. "The decision was based on league performances," Howes said.

Like Wigan almost a decade ago, Saints seem to have decided that they have gone as far as they can under a British coach. Phil Larder, the one British coach who could be regarded as a contender, is being strongly linked with Warrington, who played their last match under the caretaker regime of Clive Griffiths at Oldham on Wednesday. Larder, the England and Keighley coach, has denied any approach from the club.

Saints will be without Scott Gibbs in the match at Halifax on Sunday that will decide third place in the Stones Centenary Championship. Gibbs, sent off in the Regal final, has been suspended for two matches.

Sheffield Eagles can establish a remarkable sequence of defeating all the other sides in the division, one after the other, if they beat Wigan at the Don Valley Stadium tonight.

Sky Super League fixtures, Sporting Digest

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