Walmsley puts himself in the NRL shop window

England and St Helens prop forward Alex Walmsley is wanted by a number of NRL clubs
England and St Helens prop forward Alex Walmsley is wanted by a number of NRL clubs

Alex Walmsley will be in the shop window when he makes his belated England debut against Lebanon on Saturday.

The prop, who missed the opening fixture of the competition against Australia last Friday, has been earning rave reviews Down Under and, as I revealed ahead of the World Cup, performances in Super League had made him a possible target for NRL clubs.

Alex Walmsley training ahead of England's World Cup campaign

Alex Walmsley training ahead of England's World Cup campaign

But 27-year-old Walmsley is tied to St Helens for at least a further 12 months and having just become a father for the first time, it would be a difficult decision to make one way or another.

Saints’ team-mate James Roby, who is expected to start on the bench with Walmsley against the Lebanese, believes the Dewsbury-born powerhouse forward is ready for the biggest challenge of his rugby life.

Roby said: “I’ve every confidence in his ability. He has been training very well and he’s a big lad. He’s awkward to play against, and attracts defenders towards him.

“He runs very hard, he’s very big. He’s a tough player, he’ll give it his all.”

Tom Burgess, one of many members of England’s squad to make a successful switch from Super League to the NRL, says there is a lot to like about Walmsley’s brutal approach.

“He’s had a great year at Saints, a great couple of years,” Burgess said.

“He makes so many metres, he’s such a handful to put down.

“I was gutted for the lad to miss out last week and he’ll be making up for it ... putting on a show for the Australian crowd.”

Newcastle, Parramatta, Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra are all reported to be interested in capturing the powerhouse forward, but the million dollar question is: Will he take the plunge and move to the NRL ? Only time will tell...