England v France: The bright young full-backs playing out of position

England v France Jack Welsby Arthur Mourgue

Two of Super League’s brightest young talents will be shining out of position at this World Cup.

Two-time Young Player of the Year Jack Welsby continued his fine form for St Helens with a stellar performance in England’s 60-6 opening win over Samoa.

His extraordinary talents have seen him used in multiple positions for the Super League champions, and he lined up at stand-off for Shaun Wane’s side in Newcastle.

The 21-year-old was tipped by former England captain Jamie Peacock to be a star of the World Cup, despite the Samoa win being only his second international appearance.

Also lining up at stand-off was France’s Arthur Mourgue, who scored a try and set up a couple more in their 34-12 opening win over Greece.

Mourgue, 23, has worked his way through the ranks at Catalans and has made 47 first team appearances.

His long-term future is likely to be at full-back, though for now he too, like Welsby at international level, is behind England captain Sam Tomkins.

He’s been forced in to the halves for the national team in the absence of Huddersfield’s Theo Fages, playing alongside Tony Gigot.

“It was good. It was different,” he told Love Rugby League. “There was not the same responsibility, but I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to playing again.

“Tony (Gigot) is an experienced player and I think with my speed and footwork, we are complementary. He likes to get to the line and get the other players involved. I think it’s a good combination with him and me.”

The two could go head-to-head at Bolton on Saturday, though Wane has suggested Marc Sneyd will feature for England, so Welsby’s utility value could see him on the bench.

For France coach Laurent Frayssinous, he’ll get a closer look at Welsby, who he will link up after the World Cup when he takes up his new role as assistant coach at St Helens.

“We can talk about all the quality players in England’s squad, and Jack is a quality player. Obviously after the World Cup we’ll start spending time together.

“All of our boys have played against him and so they know what to expect. And hopefully, he will not be as good as he’s been last Saturday!”

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About James Gordon 7245 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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