Leeds to be without Luke Gale for four to five weeks

Leeds half-back Luke Gale will be sidelined for four to five weeks after he suffered a broken thumb.

Leeds coach Richard Agar was forced to field a patched-up team after skipper Gale joined the injury list with a broken thumb that left winger Tom Briscoe as the only first-choice back in their Challenge Cup defeat to St Helens on Saturday.

Agar said the club decided against strapping up Gale’s broken thumb and he is resigned to being without his captain for the next four to five weeks.

Agar fielded an unlikely-looking half-back pairing of forwards Rhyse Martin and Cameron Smith and handed debuts to 17-year-old Morgan Gannon and Fijian prop King Vuniyayawa, who played barely five minutes before being concussed in a tackle.

REPORT: St Helens 26-18 Leeds: Saints knock holders Rhinos out of Challenge Cup

The Cup holders trailed only 8-6 at half-time but faced an uphill task when Tetevano was sent off four minutes into the second half for a late and high tackle on Theo Fages.

However, Leeds hooker Brad Dwyer darted over for two tries in six minutes to set up a tense finish and Saints could only relax when Tom Makinson scored his second try 90 seconds from the end.

Agar said: “I’m proud of the performance from start to finish. Obviously we had some very difficult circumstances with team selection.

“I’ve been in the game a long time but I don’t think I’ve ever had one where every spine player and pretty much all the backs were ruled out.

“We had to adapt our game and come up with plan that would suit our personnel and rattle Saints a bit and I thought they delivered it to a tee.

“We came within a whisker, it was a magnificent effort.

“I really applaud our guys. They’re gutted they lost but I take my hats off to their efforts.”

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