Saints duo ready for cup call up

James Roby in training with Saints.
James Roby in training with Saints.

Hooker James Roby is the only Saints player in the final England squad named last week for the forthcoming World Cup.

But will be joined by ex-Knowsley Road prop James Graham who is now plying his trade in the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs.

Club skipper Paul Wellens, 33, is also on board, having been called up by England boss Steve McNamara in a coaching capacity.

McNamara said: “Paul is an outstanding professional, respected by everyone in the sport.

“He’s not directly going into the coaching at this moment in time but he has a passion to do so in the future.”

Other current, future and past Saints players are also well represented in the competition and will be pulling on the colours of their country with a great deal of pride.

Italy will have the services of Langtree Park prop Anthony Laffranchi, while Samoa will be able to call on his team-mate, Sia Soliola, as well as Penrith Panthers’ Mose Masoe who will be St Helens-bound at the end of the tournament, and will have former Knowsley Road legend Sean Long barking out orders in his capacity as assistant coach.

Wales, too, will have familar faces to Saints’ fans in their set up, including current rising young star Anthony Walker and three players with past local links, Jake Emmitt, Neil Budworth and Ian Webster.

In addition, Lee Briers, who started his senior career at Knowsley Road before moving to Warrington in 1997, is assistant coach.

Willie Manu, who joined St Helens from Hull FC at the beginning of Super League XVIII, is selected in the Tonga squad, while locally-born Kurt Haggerty is one of more than 20 Championship players taking part.

Kurt, who plays for Barrow Raiders and was also a junior at Knowsley Road, is the son of former Saints’ idol Roy Haggerty and features in the Ireland party.

And the final Saints’ link is provided by Aussie David Fairleigh who in his one and only season with the club (2001) was a key and influential figure in both the 20-18 World Club Challenge victory over the Brisbane Broncos at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, and the 13-6 Challenge Cup triumph against the Bradford Bulls at Twickeham.

David is the coach of rank outsiders, the Cook Islands.