St Helens coach calls on authorities to ‘get a grip’ on international game amidst England fallout

Aaron Bower
Paul Wellens St Helens SWpix

Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

St Helens head coach Paul Wellens believes those running international rugby league need to ‘get a grip’ of the game and drive it forwards – insisting it is essential for the growth of the game.

The fallout has continued from England’s victory in France on Saturday, an occasion which was severely underwhelming and left many questioning the direction of the international game.

Wellens, who served his country as both a player and on the coaching staff of the national side during his illustrious playing career, has now weighed in on the debate. He believes there has to be a discussion about how to drag the international game out of the mire.

“England rugby league want international fixtures and they want to play big international fixtures,” he said. “It’s something for the international board to get a grip of and move it forwards.

“Having been involved in the setup for a number of years as a player and a coach, I know the appetite is there for big games.”

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Wellens also insisted it is ‘frankly ridiculous’ England have not faced reigning world champions Australia for nigh on seven years.

“I know we had the Covid years and what-not, but the fact we haven’t played Australia since the 2017 World Cup final is frankly ridiculous,” he said.

“Proper British rugby league fans want to see those big games, they want to see Ashes games, they want to see England take on the likes of New Zealand. Hopefully we can prioritise those right games in the right part of the calendar moving forwards.”

Prop George Delaney was one of a number of Saints who received a call-up for last week’s game in France, and while Delaney didn’t feature in the game, performing the role of 18th man instead, Wellens insisted it was a deserved first Test call for the prop.

He said: “We’ve always held high hopes for George. It was a very deserved call-up for him and we’re delighted as a club when we get international representation, and for George to get that representation.”

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