Paul Wellens makes Jack Welsby admission as St Helens boss explains half-back dilemma

Drew Darbyshire
Jack Welsby St Helens Alamy

Jack Welsby scoring a try for St Helens in 2024

Jack Welsby will captain St Helens for the first time in his career this weekend, Paul Wellens has confirmed, as the club’s injury problems continue to deepen.

Welsby, who has already captained England last year, will now be given the armband for the Saints against Catalans on Friday night in the absence of Jonny Lomax, who is set to spend several weeks on the sidelines with a hand injury.

“Jack will captain the team for the first time on the weekend which is obviously great for him,” Wellens said.

“Not many people captain their country before they captain their club! That’s certainly the case for Jack, but it’s a very important thing for him and a special thing to captain the club and he will get the opportunity at the weekend.”

Welsby could be part of a tactical reshuffle of the Saints’ spine this weekend too in the absence of Lomax. Wellens insisted he is yet to decide who will partner Lewis Dodd at half-back on Friday night with Lomax out – with two clear options, it seems.

One would be to move Moses Mbye into stand-off to allow Welsby to continue at fullback – but Welsby could also come into the halves with Jon Bennison returning to the 17 at fullback, his more familiar position.

Wellens said: “We’ve got a couple of options. We obviously finished the game with Moses in the halves so Moses partnered with Lewis, with Jack staying at fullback so that’s an option.

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“Obviously Jon Bennison coming in at 1 and moving Jack to 6 is something we’ve done a few weeks back so that’s an option. Using Ben Davies at 6, he did that towards the back end of the game so we’ve got a few options available to us but losing Jonny, he is an important player for us, so it is disappointing.”

And Wellens confirmed that with a growing number of injuries in the pack, the likes of Sam Royle and Ben Davies may now get their chance this weekend.

“Those players certainly come into the reckoning,” he said.

“Players who have been patient waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity and at some point probably feeling like they were never going to get it, obviously that changes very quickly in this game so it’s great that those guys can get an opportunity because they deserve it.

“They’ve been training really well so whilst it’s a disappointment and negative in terms of losing players, the positive side is that a lot of our younger members of the squad or those players who have been patient in waiting for a chance will get that.”

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