St Helens suffer double blow as skipper leaves ground on crutches after defeat

Saints began the new season with a 26-6 hammering in York.

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St Helens suffered a double blow in their opening match of the Women Super League  season on Sunday. Not only were they hammered 26-6 by York Valkyrie at the city’s Community Stadium, but lost skipper Jodie Cunningham through a first-half knee injury which led to her hobbling out of the ground on crutches.

It could mean she misses the women’s international clash against France at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell-Jones Stadium on Saturday, April 29 - less than a  week after being installed as England’s new captain in place of club mate Emily Rudge.

Head coach Matty Smith said: "The injury is upsetting for Jodie and we certainly missed her influence on the field but we can have no complaints about the outcome. I was naturally disappointed to lose but I cannot fault the effort of the girls."

Saints got the better of the opening exchanges in a battle of two teams expected to battle for the title, along with Leeds Rhinos, when Leah Burke crashed over in the corner and Amy Taylor landed the goal - the visitor’s first and only points of the match.

But the hosts then hit back to establish a four point interval lead and went on to post three more tries after the interval to notch a well-merited victory.