There were a few puzzled looks on the faces of Saints' fans when news filtered through that scrum half Danny Richardson - last season's top points scorer - wasn't on the team sheet.
Some thought he had picked up an 11th-hour injury - but head coach Justin Holbrook knocked that theory on the head.
He revealed:''Danny had a disrupted pre-season and was in rehabilitation until Christmas but he is now 100 per cent fit.
''At the same time, Theo has worked really hard. There wasn't not much in it, but that is the way we wanted to go tonight.
''Danny will play a large part for us this year, but for round one against Wigan this is the way we went."
Holbrook's justification in playing Fages proved spot-on as the Frenchman was named man of the match.
It will set up an interested battle as the pair jockey for the scrum half role.
*Three Saints players reached career milestones in the derby showdown against Wigan Warriors last night (Thursday).
Golden Boot winner Tommy Makinson clocked up his 200th appearance after making his St Helens debut at Salford in February 2011, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook reached the 350 mark (248 for Saints, 97 for Harlequins, three for Ireland and two for England); and Jonny Lomax crowned his 200th career appearance (190 for Saints and 10 in an
England shirt) by scoring one of Saints tries against the Cherry and Whites.