Will Hohaia join squad?

St Helens RFC - Saints rugby players in training at Langtree Park Stadium, St Helens - Lance Hohaia.
St Helens RFC - Saints rugby players in training at Langtree Park Stadium, St Helens - Lance Hohaia.

Lance Hohaia is a doubt for Saints’ trip to the south of France to face Catalans Dragons because his wife is due to give birth.

The versatile back is currently in a blistering vein of form - perhaps the best of his Saints career - having formed an devastating half-back partnership with Luke Walsh.

But head coach Nathan Brown is resigned to losing the 31-year-old for the trip France on Saturday and is likely to start Gary Wheeler in his place if Hohaia is unable join the squad.

“Unless Lance’s wife has the baby in the next couple of days then he can’t be travelling,” said Brown, “so he’s a doubtful starter at this stage - but for a good reason.”

Despite missing a number of first team regulars, Brown is excited about the French trip, not least because it offers a welcome spell in the sun!

“Being an Aussie I love the trip to the south of France - I’d be there every second week if I could,” he said.

“We had a great result over there last year and, if it’s hot, we’ll just have to adapt to the conditions and play well.

“Catalans had a lot of good players out at the start of the year but they’ve started to get a few of them back now - and Leon Pryce is probably in his best form since he was at Saints.

“They generally play better at home so it will be a good test for us.”

Long-term absentees Jon Wilkin, Kyle Amor and Anthony Laffranchi are definitely ruled out but Brown will be able to welcome back the returning Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Alex Walmsley and Willie Manu.

“They’re all important players for us and to have them all back is a bonus for our squad,” Brown added.

“Obviously, we all wish we had had a game last weekend but having the week off has enabled some of the injured blokes - and the ones carrying bumps and bruises - to be fit for this week.