Saints in crisis as Joynt is ruled out

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

St Helens' key forward, Chris Joynt, has lost his battle for fitness for tonight's delayed Regal Trophy semi-final against Warrington. Joynt's shoulder injury has forced him to join Paul Newlove and Anthony Sullivan on the sidelines, although both he and Newlove should be fit for the final on 13 January if Saints can overcome their neighbours.

Better news for their coach, Eric Hughes, is that Joey Hayes, Keiron Cunningham and Apollo Perelini have all been passed fit. If the delay caused by the weekend's frost has helped Saints recall some of their injured players, it has done nothing for Warrington. Dave King is definitely out after breaking a bone in his hand and Paul Sculthorpe compounds a crisis in the loose-forward position after injuring his hip, also against Wigan on New Year's Day.

With Mike Wainwright already ruled out and Kelly Shelford still recovering from a chest infection, Wire have problems at the back of the scrum. The only certain starter in the back row, in fact, is the newly appointed club captain, Paul Cullen, whose leadership qualities could be badly needed.

Another injury hit club, Halifax, have their newcomer from Auckland, Martin Moana, making his debut in their league match against Oldham tonight.

Salford, who go to Widnes tonight and need just two wins from four remaining matches to clinch the First Division title, will be without Richard Webster, for the rest of the season. Webster has broken his thumb.

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