Saints coach blasts Manuokafoa over Smith injury: It was a disgusting tackle

By Christopher Devine 23 January 2017 142
Saints coach blasts Manuokafoa over Smith injury: It was a disgusting tackle

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham has condemned Widnes Vikings prop Manase Manuokafoa over a tackle that threatens to leave Matty Smith facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Saints are still waiting to discover how long Smith will be ruled out for after the half-back - making his first appearance since rejoining the club from Wigan Warriors - was injured in a pre-season friendly with Widnes on Sunday.

Cunningham was furious with the challenge from Manuokafoa that caused Smith's injury, stating: "It was a disgusting tackle."

The former Great Britain hooker added: "It is one we have been trying to outlaw for three years and in the past we have lost two people with broken legs and three with syndesmosis [a high ankle sprain] with that type of tackle.

"We have cited the player [Manuokafoa]. It is horrendous. Matty hasn't got the ball, it has left his hands and the tackle coincides with the next tackle which is when Morgan Knowles is tackled.

"He grabs hold of Matty's shoulders and drops his legs. You can see his boots; his legs are that far off the ground and he drops 120kg on Matty's ankles. It is harder to do that tackle than push Matty off the ball.

"Hopefully the league will stand up to it and do something about it."

Commenting on the likely absence period for Smith, Cunningham said: "The initial results weren't good. It is a leg injury and not a good leg injury.

"We don't want to pre-empt things too much. It isn't good for the immediate future, but it isn't season-ending."

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