HULL KR, who come to Bower Fold on Sunday for a fifth-round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against Oldham, have placed centre Thomas Minns “on leave” following the shock news that he has failed a drugs test.
Rovers have confirmed that it happened after their Super League game at Huddersfield Giants in March when he tested positive for a banned, non-performance enhancing substance.
Mike Smith, Rovers’ CEO, said in a statement:
“Thomas expressed his regret.
“In recent times he has found life away from rugby challenging, particularly since the tragic passing of his mother last year.”
The Rovers centres at Warrington last Saturday were local lad Liam Salter and debut-making Junior Vaivai (28), a New Zealand born former Souths and Penrith player in the NRL.
He’s expected to keep the left-centre berth at Bower Fold, playing inside Justin Carney.
Head coach Tim Sheens, who works hand in glove with head of rugby Jamie Peacock, has a problem at dummy half (hooker) because Shaun Lunt and Tommy Lee are both injured.
Sheens, once head coach of the Australian team, has three Oldhamers in his full-time squad of 33 — forwards James Greenwood, Lee Jewitt and Josh Johnson, who played for Roughyeds on dual-reg while he was a Huddersfield Giants player.
Jordan Walne is another Rovers forward who has played for Oldham on dual-reg from Salford Red Devils.
Scrum-half Chris Atkin has played against Oldham many times in the past few years, while at Swinton Lions.
And he could be partnered at Bower Fold by a veteran half-back who can only be described as a former Leeds legend, the highly-accomplished Danny McGuire.
McGuire, who has won practically every honour in the game, is the man charged with bossing the show for Rovers and taking them around the field.
Other big names in the Rovers camp include a clutch of Aussies — Adam Quinlan, Justin Carney, Maurice Blair and Andrew Heffernan.
They’ve won three of 11 Super League games so far this year — Catalans Dragons at home (23-4), Huddersfield Giants away (38-6) and Widnes Vikings at home (31-12).