Vea all set for ‘second debut’

Atelea Vea is set to make his 'second debut' for Saints
Atelea Vea is set to make his 'second debut' for Saints

Blockbuster Atelea Vea will make his first Saints appearance since March after recovering from a shoulder injury.

The former London Broncos forward returns against the side he last made an appearance against when Hull KR travel to Langtree Park on Friday night.

Coach Keiron Cunningham is throwing Vea straight into the mix after seeing his star come through training and is looking forward to effectively having a new player in his ranks.

“He’s back. He’s 100 per cent,” said Cunningham.

“Everything’s passed and he’s trained. He’ll be making his debut again. He’s been out that long it feels like a debut!”

Vea made seven appearances before being ruled out for more than three months, scoring two tries in an impressive start with his new club.

And although Cunningham expects Vea to take time to come back up to speed, he thinks the versatile heavyweight will be looking forward to getting back into action.

“He was in scintillating form at the start of the year,” said Cunningham.

“His lungs will be screaming on Friday night but I’m sure he’ll be glad of pulling a shirt on and stepping out onto that pitch.”

Meanwhile, Cunningham insists Saints are treating the visit of Hull KR the same as any other Super League match, despite having one eye on the following week’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds.

Hull KR are also in Cup action next weekend against Warrington, but with Super League’s top eight carrying their points into the next phase of the season, the Saints boss won’t be putting too many troops on the sidelines.

“We both have big games the week after,” he admitted.

“But you roll your points over from this period into your Super 8s so I’d be foolish to say we’re going to rest most of my team.”

“We’re going for the game and will have a real crack at it.”

Should Saints win on Friday, they will guarantee at least a second-placed finish before Super League splits into the Super 8s, with potential fixtures – released next Wednesday – favouring teams which finish higher up the league ladder.

“We’re still learning and understanding the physicality of the competition,” said Cunningham.

“I still think there will be some shocks – there are a lot of good sides there and a lot of teams in good form.”