Brown: We must stick with Roby class act

Saints star James Roby.
Saints star James Roby.

Nathan Brown is urging England boss Steve McNamara to resist the growing clamour to pick rising star Daryl Clark as his first-choice hooker for the end-of-year Four Nations Series.

The 21-year-old Clark, whose big-money move to Warrington Wolves for 2015 was confirmed this week, was called into England’s training squad in June after catching the eye of McNamara during Castleford Tigers’ impressive start to the season and he has gone on to maintain his impressive form.

He is expected to rival St Helens’ England regular James Roby, as well as Wigan Warriors’ Michael McIlorum, for the clashes against Australia, Samoa and New Zealand.

Saints’ head coach Brown, however, believes Clark’s performance in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final was a chastening experience and that it would be a mistake to throw him in at the deep end for his country.

“The other day’s game was a good experience for him,” Brown said. “I would imagine England would take Roby, McIlorum and Daryl Clark on tour but Daz Clark for me is not ready to be England’s starting hooker yet.

“It’s a lot tougher playing for 60 or 70 minutes against Australia than it is playing 60 minutes for Cas.

“But coming off the bench an having his squirt and trying to win them the game would be good thing for him, as would working with one of those experienced players.”

Roby provided a timely reminder of his class with an impressive performance in Saints’ crucial 13-12 First Utility Super League win over Leeds Rhinos earlier this month.