Wellens and Wilkin unsure on Chase selection

The chase is over. Rangi Chase has signed a contract extension with Castleford Tigers that will keep him at the Wheldon Road club until the end of the 2015 season. picture mike cowling sept 27th 2011
The chase is over. Rangi Chase has signed a contract extension with Castleford Tigers that will keep him at the Wheldon Road club until the end of the 2015 season. picture mike cowling sept 27th 2011

SAINTS stars Paul Wellens and Jon Wilkin have admitted to shock at the inclusion of Castlefield’s Kiwi star Rangi Chase in England’s Four Nations squad.

Rangi Chase’s selection for England has polarised opinion throughout the game with many in the game uneasy at his inclusion.

The Man of Steel winner qualifies under residency rules, having lived in England for the past three years.

He follows in the footsteps of Maurie Fa’asavalu, who played for England during his time at St Helens, despite playing for his native Samoa in the 2003 rugby union world cup.

Chase has not played for the country of his birth (although he represented the Maori against McNamara’s team last November) and has set up his home in England where he sees his future.

England ace Wilkin, one of Super League’s most articulate and intelligent players, is happy to sit on the fence on the issue.

“I don’t think it’s a question of right or wrong,” he said. “It’s a decision to be made by the English management if they see fit. I’ve not got an issue with it.

“Rangi is a good player. He’s played very well this year for Castleford and is well respected amongst his peers. That was reflected in the voting for Man of Steel by the players.”

Wilkins’ St Helens team-mate Paul Wellens, the former Great Britain full-back and one of the game’s elder statesman, can see the pros and cons.

“I’ll admit I’m hugely surprised by it,” he confessed. “I wasn’t aware of his eligibility.

“I have mixed feelings. You’ve got to be impressed by someone of Rangi’s ability and the way he plays the game is fantastic. He’s showed this year with Castleford how good he is.

“But, on the flip side, young-half-backs like Jonny Lomax, Lee Gaskell and Richie Myler maybe miss out on an opportunity because of Rangi’s inclusion.

“It’s a tricky scenario. I’m not sure entirely where I stand on it but there is no doubting that someone of Rangi’s ability will benefit the England team.”