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Kristian Woolf makes some surprise changes to his St Helens starting line up ahead of Toulouse fixture

For the first time in what seems like forever, St Helens have a number of injuries in their squad.

St Helens have been so good at keeping key players fit in recent years that they always seem to have a very strong line up taking to the field which has been central to their monopolisation of Super League in recent years.

But going into today’s game with Toulouse with their unbeaten start on the line, St Helens’ coach Kristian Woolf knew he would have to pick a team without Alex Walmsley, early Man of Steel contender Sione Mata’utia and fellow backrower Joe Batchelor as well as Will Hopoate.

Hopoate’s absence was easy to solve with Konrad Hurrell returning from suspension to take the centre spot, but what would the pack look like?

With three of the Saints’ starting pack absent, Woolf was going to have to change things. In my predicted line-up, I believed Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook would start in place of Walmsley as this was the case last season when Matty Lees was absent. LMS has indeed been given a start today but not at prop to replace Walmsley as I hypothesised but instead starts at loose-forward.

The reason behind this seems to be so that Morgan Knowles can play out of position and move into the backrow to cover St Helens’ first choice backrowers Mata’utia and Batchelor as well as absent James Bell.

Playing the league’s best 13 out of position is a big call especially when Saints had former academy skipper Sam Royale in the squad who is a second row by trade. Joining Knowles in the backrow is Curtis Sironen whilst Agnatius Paasi is given a rare start at prop in place of Walmsley.

The surprises don’t end there with skipper James Roby dropped to the bench with Joey Lussick set to start at nine. Dan Norman also makes a rare appearance off the bench. Norman has hardly been involved since joining Saints ahead of last season but has impressed on dual registration at Leigh recently.

On Saints’ Twitter Woolf expressed his excitement over giving the likes of Norman and youngster Jake Wingfield a chance.

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