Foster ruled out of Langtree Park opener

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JAMIE Foster has been ruled out of Saints first Super League game at Langtree Park with a thigh injury.

The goal-kicking winger, who topped the league’s scoring chart in 2011 with 402 points, has been ruled out of the Salford game with a thigh injury sustained in last Saturday’s 34-24 win over the London Broncos.

The absence of Foster, who missed only two of Saints’ 34 matches last season, will pave the way for a recall for former Great Britain winger Ade Gardner, who was an unused substitute against London, with another winger, Tom Makinson, set to take over the goal-kicking.

St Helens will also be without back-rower Mark Flanagan, who suffered a chest injury on the eve of his debut at London, but Chris Flannery is available after recovering from illness and coach Royce Simmons is also hopeful Tony Puletua will be fit to return.

Puletua, who missed the opening game with shoulder and elbow injuries, was able to train today but Saints still have a doubt over full-back Paul Wellens while centre Michael Shenton is still a week away from returning from dislocated elbow.

“If it was the Grand Final, all five could probably play but we’re not going to rush them back and we’re not going to needle players up at this stage of the year,” said Simmons, who is aiming to rotate his squad in the early part of the season.

“Wello has an outside chance but we’re not going to rush him back. With your Achilles, if you do it again it could be season-ending and he’s very important to us.

“Tony got through training today so he’s the most likely of the three to play.”