George King fully deserves Ireland captaincy, says his Hull KR coach

Drew Darbyshire
George King Ireland PA

George King in action for Ireland at the 2017 World Cup

Hull KR coach Tony Smith has hailed prop George King, saying he fully deserves to be the Ireland captain at this year’s World Cup.

The 27-year-old has been named Ireland captain ahead of this autumn’s World Cup by new national coach Ged Corcoran.

King has won 10 caps for Ireland since making his international debut in 2016. He will get the chance to lead his country in his second World Cup this autumn.

And King’s club coach Smith was delighted to see his star forward gain international recognition for his standout performances in Super League.

Smith said: “It is great. He is very patriotic when it comes to Ireland.

“He doesn’t speak with an Irish accent but he is very, very passionate about representing Ireland and always has been.

“I was his coach when he first got called-up and he was very honoured about it. It was a real big one for him and it means a lot to him.

“I’ve had this conversation with him in the past about what he would do if he got an England call, but he’s Irish. He would represent Great Britain proudly I’d say, but certainly when it comes to his representative country it is Ireland.

“He’s very proud to be captain. It’s good for his development and it gives him extra responsibility which is good. He’s got to lead from the front and thats a good thing for Kingy’s game.”

George King backed to succeed as Ireland skipper

King has made almost 200 career appearances for Ireland, Warrington, Wakefield and Hull KR.

Smith has been King’s coach for a long time now – both at Warrington and now Hull KR – and he is backing the prop to make a big impact as Ireland skipper.

Smith added: “He was good back when I coached him many years ago at Warrington. There weren’t many weeks when he didn’t play.

“I’ve always admired the way George plays and can play. He’s no newcomer to performing, he has probably been asked to take on some other responsibilities that he hadn’t been doing previously but he has been very good for us and has been one of our most consistent players.

“He has got a few challenges to still overcome and some improvements in his game, but I think he can keep developing. He has done well has George, I enjoy working with him.”

PODCAST: John Kear on international rugby league, re-structure & new Widnes role