Zeb Taia has been ruled out of Thursday’s eagerly-awaited derby showdown against arch-rival Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium.
The 33-year-old second row forward suffered a compound dislocation of one of his thumbs in last week’s 34-18 win over Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium and will miss only his second match in a campaign when he has been one of Saints’ most consistent players, scoring eight tries in the process.
“The injury isn’t as bad as we first thought and we are hoping he may be back for our final game of the regular season against Warrington Wolves next week,” said head coach Justin Holbrook.
“It is a compound fracture, which pierced his skin, and all we have to do is wait until it heals and hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.”
Table-topping Saints have no other injury problems as they prepare to enter ‘the lion’s den’ and will be hoping to be the first team this season to lower Wigan’s colours in front of their own vociferous fans.
Prop forward Luke Thompson said: “I’ve always been a St Helens fan and beating Wigan means a lot to me.
“I loved watching the derby clashes when I was growing up and dreamt of one day being part of them.”
He added: “I’ve just been told that Wigan haven’t lost at home this year and it would be just great if we could dent that recor.”