One game gone and already there’s plenty to talk about

Super League returned at the weekend and was welcomed back by the coldest few days of the year.

Huddersfield took pride of place in the opening round of fixtures as their depleted side won 20-16 at Wigan.

But the talking points were elsewhere with Widnes playing a first competitive game on their new artificial pitch and Salford opening their new ground.

The Stobart Stadium’s new i-pitch meant that sub zero temperatures were never going to be a problem.

The grazes suffered by players to their knees and elbows were the cause for more than one comment and it appeared tricky for players to stop suddenly if they had overrun the ball.

Expect to see players donning knee pads and elbow protection, but without the skateboards, when the next game is played at the stadium.

The Vikings were comfortably beaten by Wakefield in the end to suggest a season of hard slog in the game’s top flight.

No one knows what Salford’s new pitch is like given that it was under several inches of snow by the time kick off arrived.

Not surprisingly, there was precious little top of the ground, summer style rugby on show, but there was enough evidence to suggest Salford will continue to struggle despite their new surroundings.

The weather almost took its toll on Sunday as well, with Odsal under enough snow to force a delayed kick off.

Hundreds of volunteers were at the ground to clear it away and must have wondered whether they had wasted their time as the Bulls crashed to the Dragons.

Bradford can expect to join the Vikings and the City Reds in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Football Association’s decision to take the England captaincy off John Terry was intended to diffuse a potentially tricky situation ahead of Euro 2012.

The Chelsea defender denies all allegations of racial abuse for which he faces a court case in July.

But the authorities decided that it would have been too great a distraction and took the armband from him last week.

That appeared to be that until manager Fabio Capello decided to do an interview in Italian with his home country’s state broadcaster RAI.

“I thought it was right that Terry should keep the captain’s armband,” said Capello. “I have spoken to the FA chairman and I have said that in my opinion one cannot be punished until it is official and the court, a non-sport court, a civil court, had made a decision to decide if John Terry has done what he is accused of.”

He may be right, he may not.

But it shows that there is now little common ground between the manager and his employers.

Capello is leaving after the European Championships, something else that is likely to exercise the national Press up to and throughout the tournament.

Perhaps it would be better if the FA bit the bullet and appointed someone else now rather than waiting until later in the year.