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Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 12:59 UK

St Helens to let Sculthorpe leave

Paul Sculthorpe with the Challenge Cup in 2006
Sculthorpe twice led Saints to victory in the Challenge Cup

Paul Sculthorpe is to leave St Helens at the end of the season after the Super League leaders confirmed they would not be offering him a new deal.

His injury record and the restraints of the salary cap are thought to be behind St Helens' decision to release their club captain and two-time Man of Steel.

Shaun McRae's Salford were thought to be favourites to sign the 30-year-old.

But McRae, who signed Sculthorpe for St Helens from Warrington in 1997, has distanced the Reds from the rumours.

"Paul is a fantastic player and we have met his agent but it is very unlikely we will be signing him," said McRae.

Another possible location for Sculthorpe, who is currently in his testimonial year, could be Wakefield, where his brother Danny plays.

Sculthorpe was appointed Saints captain in 2004, winning the Challenge Cup in 2004 and 2006 and the Super League Grand Final in 1999, 2000 and 2002.

But he has been plagued by a string of injuries in the last two years - including a knee reconstruction - and has managed only 12 games this season.

"We have been talking to Paul since June and have allowed him to speak to other clubs," confirmed a Saints spokesman.

Since joining from Warrington for a then world-record fee of 370,000, he has made more than 200 appearances for Saints, scoring 1116 points in the process.

He succeeded Andy Farrell as Great Britain captain back in 2005, but was forced to stand down from the role after playing just 18 minutes of Test rugby as skipper, again because of injuries.

Sculthorpe, the only player to ever win back-to-back Man of Steel awards, is back in contention for Saints' game against Harlequins after overcoming a hamstring injury.

see also
Sculthorpe eyeing top-spot finish
01 Aug 08 |  St Helens
Sculthorpe 'has more to offer'
04 Jul 08 |  St Helens
Saints hit by Sculthorpe setback
12 Feb 08 |  St Helens
Sculthorpe pens new Saints deal
27 Sep 07 |  St Helens
Sculthorpe quits as Lions skipper
25 Jul 07 |  Rugby League
Book review: Man of Steel
22 Aug 07 |  Sport Homepage
Injury wrecks Sculthorpe's night
27 Jun 06 |  International
Scully's return
24 Feb 07 |  Rugby League
Bitter-sweet victory for Sculthorpe
17 Oct 06 |  St Helens
Sculthorpe has mark of a leader
03 May 05 |  Rugby League
Sculthorpe handed Lions captaincy
03 May 05 |  Rugby League

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