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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Do not read anything into squad numbers, says Whitehaven boss

Long-serving hooker Carl Sice has been handed the No 9 shirt at Whitehaven in recognition of his testimonial campaign – but coach Dave Woods has warned against reading anything into other squad numbers.

Dave Woods photo
Dave Woods

The coach stressed that squad numbers had to be logged well before the launch of the season on Sunday and they would have no bearing on his selections.

“To me, they are just numbers on their gear, and whoever performs best will get in the 17,” Woods said. “When we were asked for them, we were not even sure what the final squad would be. Sicey has been given No 9, because it is his testimonial. It’s a gesture of goodwill for his hard work over the years.”

Sice featured off the bench in Sunday’s opener against York, while fellow hooker James Newton, handed shirt No 14, started the match, won 32-22 by Haven. Prop Dave Houghton, squad No 8, also played off the bench, earning the man of the match award.

Haven took the three points without the use of any dual registration players from St Helens, despite the offer of first-team squad members.

“If we had taken five Saints’ players and got beat, where would we turn?” Woods said. “We did it without them and that was a good first-up win.”

Papua New Guinea prop Rodney Pora – yet to arrive at the Recre – has been handed No 33. His is one of only two XXXL shirts. The other belongs to French international front-rower Seb Martins.

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