Grix enthused by Aston’s Ireland leadership

Scott Grix will start at full-back for the Wolfhounds

Huddersfield full-back Scott Grix thoroughly enjoyed playing for Ireland in the 2015 European Championship in the autumn.

Ireland made a good fist of the tournament, beating Scotland, and going into the last game with an outside chance of winning the title.

They lost out to Wales in the end, but Grix enjoyed the experience, not least because winning a game in an Ireland shirt has been such a rarity in recent times for him.

“It is always is a good experience,” he told Love Rugby League.

“The game where we beat Scotland, although I’ve missed a couple of years, that was my first win with Ireland since we beat Samoa in the 2008 World Cup!

“So, for me, it was a long time between drinks, so it was a real good trip.

“It’s nice to get away from the day-to-day stuff, and to bond with a great bunch of lads who you only realistically see once or twice a year.

“I’ll always be involved in that as long as I’m wanted.”

Ireland are coached by the irrepressible Mark Aston, the Sheffield Eagles chief, and Grix likes working with the astute tactician.

“It speaks for itself what he has done with the Sheffield club over the years,” he said.

“When ‘Tubby’ (Aston) first took over the Ireland stuff, I wasn’t involved, so everybody else had the jump on me in terms of him and how he worked.

“My first year with him was the last time we went to the World Cup (in 2013).

“He’s been great. As well as being serious about his rugby, he’s also relaxed.

“He likes to enjoy it as much as he can on the field, and make sure that it’s good for everybody off it.

“He’s a good laugh is Tubby. He was good for the young boys coming through too.

“It’s getting to the point where every year there are more debuts around.”

Ireland being a land of song, music was also a feature of the camp, when the time came to relax.

“There’s always a guitar nearby!” Grix smiled.

But the serious business of developing rugby league in Ireland continues, and Grix is optimistic about the future.

The number of Irish domestic players acquitting themselves well in the squad impressed the Giants full-back.

“That means it’s working, basically,” he said.

“There’s been numerous occasions over the years when Ireland have felt thay they should scrap the whole thing and build from the amateur game in Ireland.

“But I think that’s too big a jump.

“The guys who have been drip fed into the squads are coming to us and learning from us as best as they can, going back, and feeding it into their boys, and when they come back again they’re much better players.

“I know the ultimate aim is to have a full, homegrown Irish squad, and I’m sure in future we will have, but for the time being they’re coming and mixing with us and improving their rugby league cultures.

“For us, we see what it means to them when they’re around the squad and it gives us a boost too.

“We’re all there for the same reasons when we get there. Those guys have embraced that, and we love that.”

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