‘Savour it’ – Paul Wellens’ clear message as James Roby enters finale of legendary career

Drew Darbyshire
James Roby St Helens Alamy

James Roby in action for St Helens

St Helens coach Paul Wellens has urged the rugby league world to ‘savour’ every moment of James Roby’s last few games as he approaches the end of a legendary career.

Super League great Roby previously announced that he will bring an end to an illustrious playing career at the end of this season.

The 37-year-old surpassed Kel Coslett’s long-standing record as St Helens’ all-time appearance holder earlier this season, with Roby currently sitting on 548 games for his hometown club.

Roby only has a handful of games left of his incredible career – targeting a fifth Super League title in a row – and his seventh overall.

“He’s had a few line breaks in the last couple of weeks,” Saints coach Paul Wellens said with a smile after their 18-6 win at Warrington on Friday night. “It’s great to watch him.

“Over the next few weeks – not just as a St Helens supporter, not just myself as a coach or a close friend of his – I think everybody within rugby league should savour it.

“It is the last few weeks you’ll get to watch James Roby play… I would savour it.

“You talk about the greats of the game – I’m not just talking about in Super League – you talk about the greats of the game in the history of rugby league, he’s right up there.

“It’s wonderful for him to be playing so well at the ripe old age of 37.”

Roby won 39 international caps in total for Great Britain and England, representing his country in three World Cups.

The 2007 Man of Steel winner also made the Super League Dream Team on seven occasions.

Roby has won six Super League titles, four Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges with boyhood club Saints during a phenomenal 20-year playing career.

Daryl Clark to fill void left by James Roby at St Helens

Warrington Wovles hooker Daryl Clark and St Helens captain James Roby Alamy Warrington hooker Daryl Clark (left) will take over the hooking role at St Helens from the retiring James Roby (right) in 2024

The man who will take over Roby’s mantle at St Helens is Warrington hooker Daryl Clark, who will link up with the champions on a three-year deal from next season.

Clark was impressive for Warrington against his future employers on Friday night, and whilst Wellens didn’t want to comment too much on Clark whilst he’s still a Warrington player, he believes the England international will prove to be a good addition to his side.

“I thought Daryl Clark was fantastic, he really troubled us,” Wellens said in his post-match press conference on Friday.

“Part of me there didn’t like it but there’s also a part of me that thinks he’s going to be a handy player for us moving forward.

“I don’t really want to talk too much about their players. I respect Daryl, I respect the fact he’s a Warrington player now and I respect the fact he’s got unfinished business with them.

“I think the way he went about his work tonight shows how committed he is as a player and he goes out there to perform at his best every week.”

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