St Helens ‘closer to strongest side’ as Kristian Woolf names squad for Toulouse Olympique test

Regan Grace and Will Hopoate are in the frame for selection.

<p>Kristian Woolf</p>

Kristian Woolf

Centre Mark Percival, who picked up a minor injury against Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones Stadium a couple of weeks ago, is omitted from the Saints’ squad for Saturday’s Super League match against Toulouse Olympique at Stade Ernest-Wallon.

But coach Kristian Woolf told Saints TV that both Welsh winger Regan Grace, who has missed all but one fixture this year due to a hamstring problem, and Will Hopoate have all trained over the past two weeks and are in the frame for selection.

Sign up to our LiverpoolWorld Today newsletter

Teenager Jonathan Bennison has also been cleared to play following a facial fracture sustained in the opening minute of the Castleford game in Easter week and comes in for Dan Hill.

Woolf also explained why the club have taken their time with bringing those back in the fold after learning a harsh lesson from Hopoate’s previous hamstring problem.

“Will has been training really well for more than three weeks now and moving really well and Regan has been the same. We have been quite cautious and taken a bit of extra time with both of those blokes to make sure we don’t end up in a predicament again.

“We are really confident that they are not just going to be able play this week but be in a position where they will play well and confidently, too.

“If you look over the last seven or eight weeks we have had a really disjointed period where 13 or 14 of our top 17 have missed two weeks or more somewhere in that period.

“It has been disruptive, and we have been chopping and changing every week with blokes playing out of position but now we are getting a bit closer to what is our strongest side.

“We are not quite there – but it is not too far away. If we can stay injury free then outside of Lewis Dodd we should be able to get everyone back in the next few weeks.”

Squad: 1. Jack Welsby, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Will Hopoate, 5. Regan Grace, 6. Jonny Lomax, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Sione Mata’utia, 12. Joe Batchelor, 13, Morgan Knowles, 14. Joey Lussick, 15. LMS, 16. Curtis Sironen, 17. Agnatius Paasi, 19. Jake Wingfield, 20. James Bell, 22. Ben Davies, 23. Konrad Hurrell, 24. Dan Norman, 27. Jon Bennison