Justin Holbrook has confirmed that French half-back Theo Fages is set to start in St Helens’ season opener on Thursday night ahead of last year’s top Super League points scorer Danny Richardson.
Richardson, named in last season’s Super League Dream Team, has been troubled with a groin problem in the off-season. That injury concern, however, is believed to have eased and the Englishman is instead set to miss out in part due to a tactical decision from the Saints’ Australian head coach. Confirming Richardson’s pre-season injury issue, Holbrook explained his decision regarding the two half-backs. “He’s [Richardson] fine, but Theo has different strengths. He’s a more calming type of guy while Danny is a bit more electrifying. To start the year we will likely go for that more solid start with Theo,” he told the media.
It is unlikely that Richardson will remain on the periphery for long, especially as he has been given the number 7 jersey this season. Indeed, the 22-year-old may be involved from the interchange bench against Wigan on Thursday night. Last season Fages was very much an understudy last season to Richardson and Jonny Lomax but it seems that Holbrook may be willing to give the Frenchman more of a role in 2019.