JON Wilkin will achieve his ultimate goal tonight after a decade at the top of the sport.
The Saints utility forward will wear the captain’s armband as England take on The Exiles in the final match of the International Origin series at Huddersfield, describing it as “the finest individual honour which can be bestowed on a player”.
Wilkin, 28, takes over as skipper from Leeds Rhinos powerhouse forward Jamie Peacock, who last week announced his retirement from international rugby with immediate effect.
“I really can’t emphasise how proud and privileged I am to be given the opportunity to captain my country,” said Wilkin.
“It’s something I’ve aspired to. I think my actions at the club over the last two or three years have been about becoming a leader within that set-up.
“I’ve taken a lot from the senior players at St Helens, and, obviously, Jamie Peacock internationally.”
McNamara confirmed Wilkin got the nod ahead of his St Helens team-mate James Roby, who is vice-captain at their club, but insisted no decision has been taken over a long-term successor to Peacock.
Whether Hull-born player is a long-term contender for the job is far from clear with head coach Steve McNamara keeping his cards close to his chest. The England boss said yesterday: “The captain I have chosen for the game will be for one fixture only.
“I have a number of options in respect of the new permanent England captain and I am in no hurry to make an announcement.
“I will keep an open mind on my choice and assess a number of factors before revealing who will take the team forward as our leader on the field.
“We have a number of strong candidates both here and also players in the NRL.”
That could mean former Saints ace James Graham, who has always led from the front and took over as tour captain following an injury to Adrian Morley during the 2010 Four
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Weather for St Helens
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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