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Rugby Union: WE WILL KEEP THE FAITH - ANDERSON; Saints coach will not panic as injuries add to his woes in association with Walton Car Centre.

Byline: By IAN LAYBOURN

LEEDS 38

ST HELENS 19

ST HELENS coach Daniel Anderson remains confident in the ability of the champions to defend successfully their Super League crown despite suffering their heaviest defeat for two years.

Saints lost 38-19 at Leeds, their worst League result since crashing 44-6 at Hull in 2005, and have picked up more injuries.

They slipped to third in the table and have lost as many matches in the first 11 rounds as they did in the 2006 season when they completed the treble.

"We knew it would be hard this year," said Anderson.

"We're not kidding ourselves other teams haven't got better.

"I'm still encouraged. Leeds basically just outplayed us. They've been very keen all year to talk about how they've improved and we'd seen that.

"We're okay I certainly haven't lost any faith in our ability but we're going to find it tough some weeks."

Already without Jason Hooper (shoulder) and Jon Wilkin (broken hand), St Helens lost Great Britain duo Lee Gilmour and Ade Gardner through injury and Australian centre Matt Gid-ley to illness on the eve of their trip to Headingley

Gardner sustained an eye injury in a street attack in his home town of Barrow-in-Furness which is being investigated by police while Gilmour could be out for two months after exploratory knee surgery revealed bad news.

"Lee Gilmour collapsed at training and had to go in for an arthroscope because they couldn't tell from the scans what was wrong with him," explained Anderson.

"It wasn't nice but they've fixed it up. He will be out for between six and eight weeks."

Saints also have an injury concern over scrum-half Sean Long, who rolled an ankle during the second half of the Leeds match and could be doubtful for next Sunday's match at Harlequins.

Leeds' six-try romp enabled them to draw level with leaders Bradford but coach Tony Smith played down the significance of his side's crushing victory.

He warned that the Rhinos aim to find yet more improvement in the second half of the season but conceded that there could be a Roses rematch at Old Trafford in October.

He said: "You could see the intensity between the two teams, was there right from the start.

CAPTION(S):

HALTED: Saints' Mike Bennett is stopped in his tracks by Leeds defenders
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2007
Words:390
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