St Helens (Grand Final winner 15/8) have been dealt a big blow following the news that Theo Fages will miss the remainder of the 2021 Betfred Super League season following surgery on a broken shoulder.
The French half-back suffered the injury during their 26-12 win against Castleford Tigers in the Challenge Cup final.
He took a blow to his shoulder in the sixth minute and played on through the rest of the first half despite being in visible pain.
Coach Kristian Woolf withdrew him at half-time and now he is set to miss the remainder of the 2021 season.
Two weeks prior to the Wembley final, the scrum-half suffered a minor shoulder problem against Wigan and missed their subsequent Super League game against Wakefield as a result.
The injury was worsened against the Tigers and now the Saints will have to do without the 26-year-old as they seek to win a hat-trick of Super League titles.
Fages may also be absent from France’s squad for the World Cup in the autumn, which is still scheduled to go ahead.
Woolf says he is full of admiration for the bravery of Fages to play nearly a full half of rugby with a broken shoulder.
He said: “You could see with some of his passes that he was suffering and he was trying to get through it but he didn’t want to let anyone down and it shows how much of a tough player he is.
“To score a try and do what he did, I can’t speak highly enough of him and what the team means to him.
“He has had to have subsequent surgery and unfortunately he will be out for the rest of the season.”
St Helens currently sit second in the Betfred Super League table, behind leaders Catalans Dragons who have a higher win percentage (Grand Final winner – Catalans 5/2).