Kristian Woolf explains Will Hopoate absence as Josh Simm replaces him for St Helens vs Hull FC

Champions St Helens had a near flawless Round One.

They beat their major title rivals with relative ease 28-8 sending a statement both to Catalans and the rest of the league that, despite a number of changes in the off-season, they’re still the team to beat.

They also appeared to be the only side to come away from Round One with no new injury concerns or suspensions, however that is no longer the case with Will Hopoate missing out on the trip to Hull today through injury.

His absence is the only change made by Kristian Woolf after a comprehensive Round One win and sees Josh Simm come into the side.

Speaking on St Helens’ official Twitter page, the St Helens’ coach, and Hopoate’s national coach at Tonga, Woolf has confirmed why the centre – who replaced the injured Regan Grace on the wing last week – won’t feature today.

“Unfortunately, Will’s got some rib injuries,” Woolf said, “That’s why he came off the field last week. He’s been a bit sore through the week once we started getting him moving and trying to train.

“The best thing for us to do is to make sure we don’t aggravate it and we don’t make it a longer term injury.”

He did also praise Josh Simm who has impressed in pre-season and is more than ready to fill the void today: “Josh Simm has had a great pre-season. He’s worked really hard, he’s fitter than I’ve seen him before, he’s worked really hard in other elements of his game. He’s chomping at the bit.”

Hull have their own problems with Jake Connor absent through suspension but Josh Griffin does return after his 2021 season was ended due to an achilles injury against St Helens.

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