Going into today’s game against Toulouse, Kristian Woolf made a point of how excited he was to see Will Hopoate and Regan Grace return to his starting line-up after injury hit starts to 2022.
He also noted how this would allow Sione Mata’utia to play his natural second-row position however, that hasn’t happened for the in-form back-rower today with him surprisingly named at centre again.
This is largely due to the absence of Mark Percival which was confirmed when the Champions’ named their 21-man squad for the game in France today.
However, it was suggested that Will Hopoate and Konrad Hurrell would play at centre with Grace on the wing, but instead Hopoate has started at fullback.
It’s the second time Woolf has gone with him at fullback with Jack Welsby moving to seven in place of the injured Lewis Dodd partnering Jonny Lomax in the halves after Woolf settled on this spine against Salford earlier this campaign.
His decision to return to this set-up at earliest convenience suggests that he sees this as their strongest spine for the rest of the season due to Dodd’s injury and sees Ben Davies dropped.
It also means Mata’utia starts at centre alongside Grace on the wing.
⚫🧊 𝙎𝘼𝙄𝙉𝙏𝙎 𝙏𝙀𝘼𝙈 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎! ⚫🧊
Your Saints team to take on Toulouse as Will Hopoate and @regangrace5 both return! ! 🇫🇷 🔒
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) June 4, 2022