Dream Team member Jack Welsby has already enjoyed plenty of success in clubland with St Helens – but now he wants to make his mark with England.
It’s hard to believe that Welsby is still only 21 years of age. He’s already made more than 80 appearances for Saints.
He’s been part of the Saints side that have done the three-peat in Super League. He won the Challenge Cup in 2020. He made his England debut earlier this year. And he has just been named in the Super League Dream Team for a second year in a row.
Welsby’s rise to the top has been nothing short of exceptional – and he’s not achieved his ambitions yet. The next goal to conquer is helping his country lift the World Cup on home soil this autumn.
“I got my first taste of international rugby this year which was brilliant,” Welsby told the Love Rugby League Podcast. “It is something I want to kick on with and carry on doing.
“I’ve got to impress Waney and put my best foot forward for the World Cup. There’s a lot of competition, so I’m just doing my best for St Helens and hopefully that’s enough to get in the squad.”
Shaun Wane bringing the passion, says Jack Welsby
Welsby was given his international debut by fellow Wiganer Shaun Wane in June. Welsby featured in the halves to help England kick-off their World Cup preparations with an 18-4 win over the Combined Nations All Stars in Warrington.
What does Wane expect from an England player exactly?
“We know it’s going to be tough playing in the World Cup, so he’s expecting everyone to be at their best,” Welsby said.
“You’ve got to be proud to play for England. He’s very patriotic in that way and loves England Rugby League. That’s very clear to see with the way he talks about it publicly and with the way he talks about it to the plays in private.
“He wants to win a World Cup and we’re all aboard with the way he’s thinking and the way he wants to play. It should be good, I’m looking forward to it.”
England under no illusions
England are in a group alongside France, Greece and Samoa, with the latter expecting to field a star-studded squad packed with NRL talent.
Welsby says England are under no illusions of how tough the task at hand is. But the group are determined to create history.
“I’ve seen Samoa have got a few (stars) joining up with them and they are our first game at the World Cup,” Welsby said.
“We’ve got a warm-up game against Fiji and then Samoa in the opening game so it’ll be a good test for us. They’ll be as good as anyone in the competition but I’m confident we can give them a good game and beat them. It’s at St James’ Park as well so it’ll be a good atmosphere, I’m looking forward to it.”
England without James Roby
One player that won’t be playing for England at the World Cup is St Helens stalwart James Roby.
The legendary hooker, who turns 37 in November, recently confirmed he will play one more season in 2023. However, he has since said that he wont be coming out of international retirement.
Roby and Welsby were named in the 2022 Super League Dream Team. Their Saints team-mates Alex Walmsley and Morgan Knowles were also included.
“We were laughing,” Welsby said of Roby.
“I’m heritage number 194 (in the Dream Team) and he’s 94, so I’m 100 players behind him! He’s been awesome this year. He’s just a massive lift for us and him going around next year has brought excitement to all the boys in a tough period of the season. Now we are looking forward to kicking on in the finals.”