Hull injury crisis may force return of Raynor

Dave Hadfield
Monday 27 January 2014 04:37
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Hull will give Gareth Raynor as long as possible to show that he is fit to play his first game since last September against Warrington tonight. The Great Britain winger missed last autumn's World Cup after an operation on a foot injury and has not figured in his club's squad this season.

His coach, Richard Agar, is not guaranteeing him a place today, but given Hull's other injuries in the outside backs the prospect of having a Test wingman on the team-sheet is a tempting one. "Of course we've missed him," said Agar. "but we need to know, if we put him in, being a winger, that he is going to last the 80 minutes."

Another long-term absentee, Motu Tony, is still missing, along with Shaun Berrigan and the surprise inclusion in England's elite training squad this week, Tom Briscoe. Warrington have a more familiar look with the return of Lee Briers and Adrian Morley to their squad.

St Helens, wholly convincing 42-8 winners over the Catalan Dragons in the Challenge Cup last weekend, go after a quick double in Perpignan this evening. They add Kyle Eastmond and the 20-year-old forward, Jacob Emmitt, to the 17 who did the business in the cup.

Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner and Leon Pryce are Saints internationals who might be pondering the significance or otherwise of their omission from England's elite training squad this week.

One of the many puzzles within that selection is that there is no specialist full-back, so Wellens presumably still counts as the man in possession. Pryce, for all his troubles off the field, has continued to show Test-class form for his club. The Catalans, still looking in vain for the consistent form they enjoyed last year, have a range of different options at half-back with the addition of Greg Bird and Shane Perry to their squad.

In the build-up to tomorrow's games, the still winless Celtic Crusaders had hoped to have their prolific try-scoring full-back, Tony Duggan, back in action at Bradford. However, a further scan this week has revealed that his ankle problem will keep him out for another three to four months.

The Welsh club do have Matty Smith and Mark Lennon available again against the Bulls, who have had their own dose of bad news this week, with David Solomona ruled out for the season.

Wakefield are without Brad Drew, Tevita Leo-Latu and Matt Petersen at Harlequins, but Jamie Rooney could make his first appearance of the season. Quins have extended the contract of their centre, David Howell, for another two seasons.

Salford expect to have Jeremy Smith and Darrell Goulding back at Huddersfield, but Craig Stapleton is still ruled out.

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