Rugby League: Stretched Saints on the rack

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The Independent Online
St Helens are today holding a crisis meeting aimed at strengthening a squad that is becoming increasingly frayed at the edges.

Saints, reeling in the aftermath of their record 65-12 home defeat by Wigan on Monday, have had further bad news, with the Great Britain hooker, Keiron Cunningham, needing an exploratory knee operation this week. Chris Joynt needs to see a specialist about his shoulder and will also meet the club with his representatives next week over what St Helens' chief executive, David Howes, called "a number of internal matters that are concerning him".

Howes would not comment on rumours of strife between Joynt and the club's captain, Bobbie Goulding, but, even if everyone was getting on well, Saints' resources are strained to the limit. "We will be sitting down with the coaching staff and assessing what can be done," Howes said yesterday. There is little point in sitting down unless money can be made available, with Warrington's Toa Kohe-Love likely to be the first purchase if the purse-strings are loosened.

Uncertainty surrounds the future of Phil Sigsworth after the arrival of his fellow-Australian Peter Walsh to take up a new post as head coach at Hull. Sigsworth, under whom Hull are undefeated in the First Division this season, appears to have been demoted to first-team coach only, but said: "I will carry on in very much the same way. I don't have any problem with Peter Walsh being here."

Sheffield Eagles have joined Hull in hoping to sign Karl Harrison, the Test prop whose contract at Halifax expires at the end of this season.

The Salford forward, Paul Forber, has been told to appear at the League's disciplinary committee tomorrow, over his role in the incident that saw St Helens' Ian Pickavance sent off last week.

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