Micky McIlorum won battle of the hookers, says England coach Wane

England players celebrate All Stars win Micky McIlorum PA

England coach Shaun Wane revealed he thought Micky McIlorum was the best hooker on the field in their 18-4 win over the Combined Nations All Stars.

It has been nine years since 34-year-old McIlorum last represented birth country England. He represented his Irish heritage at the last World Cup in 2017.

But the Catalans Dragons hooker made his England return on Saturday. He helped Wane’s side beat the Combined Nations All Stars 18-4 in Warrington.

There were four hookers on show in the clash – McIlorum and Paul McShane (Castleford) for England; and Kruise Leeming (Leeds) and Daryl Clark (Warrington) for the All Stars.

All four number nines are vying for spots in Wane’s World Cup squad.

Speaking after the game, Wane revealed that McIlorum was the best on the day.

He said: “I’m a big fan of Daryl and a big fan of Kruise, but I thought Micky was the best.

“Paul McShane can do a lot better than what he did. I’m a big fan of Macca but I thought Micky was the standout best.

“Kruise and Daryl did what we expected, they run on losses and they did that very well but I thought we defended their threat well.”

PODCAST: Andrew Henderson on Combined Nations All Stars & international rugby league

England U-turn for James Roby?

Another hooker who has been rumoured with a World Cup appearance is St Helens legend James Roby. He announced his retirement from international duty in September 2021.

However, speculation that he will come out of international retirement to feature in the World Cup just won’t go away.

The 36-year-old presented the match jerseys to the England players earlier this week, but Wane insists he did not speak to him about playing in the World Cup.

Wane said: “He spoke very well to the players and the presentation was fantastic but I didn’t get any conversation with him (about that).

“It was a great night. He had just come back from holiday and he had just done me a massive favour, so I didn’t want to take the mickey.”

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About Drew Darbyshire 8029 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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