St Helens captain James Roby calls time on international career

St Helens captain James Roby has announced his retirement from international rugby league with immediate effect.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 10:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 10:36 am
James Roby is tackled by Paul Gallen of Australia during the Four Nations Final between England and Australia at Elland Road in 2011

The 35-year-old hooker has made 36 appearances for England and seven for Great Britain going back to his debut against New Zealand in Christchurch in 2006.

Roby, who intends to hang up his boots at the end of the 2022 season, says the decision to postpone the 2021 World Cup by 12 months convinced him the time was right to bring his international career to a close.

Roby said: “I was hoping to be selected for RLWC2021 this autumn and taking absolutely nothing for granted, but 2022 is a year too far. Time waits for no man.

“I’ve had some incredible experiences and standing for the national anthem as an England or Great Britain player is something I’ll never forget.

“I’ll be supporting Shaun (Wane) and the boys next year and there’s no reason why they can’t go all the way.

"We were so close to beating Australia in the 2017 final and we were close too against New Zealand in the semi-final at Wembley in 2013. I’d have loved to have won some silverware, but we were always the nearly men.

“I remember my debut really well. Brian Noble selected me to tour Down Under. I was only 20 and got the opportunity to play against Australia and New Zealand alongside the likes of Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow, and other players I looked up to like my Saints team-mates Leon Pryce and Paul Wellens. Brian’s a great fella, and that tour made me want to be involved again and again.

“I’ve also been fortunate to line up in the pack alongside some real enforcers – the kind of players who would die on the pitch if you asked them to. James Graham, Sam Burgess, Jamie Peacock, Adrian Morley…I loved taking the field with players like them. They just do whatever it takes.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and I’d like to thank everybody who has played a part in my international career, however big or small the role.”

Roby was named man of the match on his first appearance in a World Cup, against Papua New Guinea in 2008, and also played in the 2013 and 2017 tournaments, including the World Cup final against Australia in Brisbane four years ago.

England head coach Wane said: “I’ve been a long-time admirer of James and I’m gutted that I never got the chance to coach him.

“He’d have played in the World Cup had the tournament gone ahead this year but I understand the reason for his decision.

“James is one of those players who consistently delivers exactly what coaches want and he very rarely gets it wrong. He’s a great number nine, which is why fellow professionals like [former England captain] Sean O’Loughlin rave about him. He’s a legend.”