St Helens and England have been dealt a significant blow with the loss of Alex Walmsley to a long-term injury.
The prop sustained a foot injury in last month’s Super League defeat at Wigan Warriors and missed the final two games of the regular season.
The issue was initially thought to be a minor one but scans have now revealed a longer-term injury.
It means Walmsley will play no further part in the season as Saints bid to win Super League for a fourth season in a row.
And the 32-year-old will also be forced to sit out a home World Cup with England, for whom he would have been central to Shaun Wane’s plans having featured in the final of the previous tournament five years ago.