St Helens boss Paul Wellens praises promising forward who is an ‘absolute pleasure’ to coach

Drew Darbyshire
Sam Royle St Helens

Sam Royle of St Helens (left) goes in for a tackle on Leeds Rhinos centre Nene Macdonald (right)

St Helens boss Paul Wellens says it is an ‘absolute pleasure’ to coach Sam Royle, with the young forward impressing in the first team in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old forward has made 15 appearances for his hometown club St Helens since making his first team debut in 2021, with eight of those coming this season.

Royle, who joined Saints’ junior ranks from local community club Thatto Heath Crusaders, has taken his first team opportunities with both hands in recent weeks.

“Sam is someone who has been around the team and the club for a long, long time now having come through our junior system,” Wellens told Love Rugby League.

“When Kristian Woolf (former head coach) named the team when we played a lot of young lads up at Castleford (last season), he named Sam Royle as the captain so that gives an indication in to what we think of Sam here at the club.

“He’s a very reliable person and very reliable player and I think that showed on the weekend (against Leeds).”

‘He’s the type of person the rest of the group really respect’ – St Helens boss Paul Wellens on Sam Royle

Royle, who was named Saints’ Academy Player of the Year in 2019, has again been named in Wellens’ 21-man squad to make the trip to Salford on Sunday.

Wellens continued: “I think he showed on the weekend that he can compete at this level in a really intense game and that’s very important.

“What I will say about Sam, obviously he played in the back-row at the weekend, but I’m very comfortable playing him through the middle of the field as well so he certainly gives us some options there.

“As a player to coach him it’s an absolute pleasure.

“His work ethic is fantastic, the way he is around the place, he’s a very selfless person and he’s the type of person the rest of the group really respect.”

St Helens will make the short trip to the Salford Stadium on Sunday as they face Salford Red Devils in Round 21 of Super League, 3pm kick-off.

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