Cunningham: New signing Zeb due in next few week

Saints coach Keiron Cunningham
Saints coach Keiron Cunningham

Saints are not expecting any hitches in new boy Zeb Taia’s application for a visa and hopefully the powerhouse Gold Coast Titans back or second rower will jet into the UK within the next two to three weeks - well in time to experience his first Saints-Wigan Warriors derby at the DW Stadium on Good Friday.

“It can be a difficulty process, but every box has been ticked and we are not expecting any issues,” said St Helens’ head coach Keiron Cunningham.

Cunningham added: “We tried to sign Zeb a few years ago before he returned to the Titans and he was fully aware of our interest.”

Saints feel they have negotiated a good three-year deal for the 32-year-old Australian-born New Zealand and Cook Islands international, which also includes Joe Greenwood heading in the opposite direction.

There is further good news on the team front with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook expected to be included in the initial 19-man squad for Friday’s derby clash with Leigh Centurions at the Leigh Sports Village.

The versatile forward, who missed the friendly fixtures with Widnes Vikings and Castleford Tigers and the opening Betfred Super League showdown against Leeds Rhinos as he recovered from injury, is chomping at the bit to pull on a Saints’ shirt once more.

Cunningham said: “We could have played him from round one but he hadn’t sufficient miles in his legs.”

Still on the injury front, scrum-half Matty Smith, who broke a leg in the Vikings’ clash earlier this month, is progressing as well as can be expected.

“He is still wearing a protective boot and we have to make sure everything is right for the rest of the year before he returns,” said Cunningham.