Orrell St James' head coach excited to welcome BBC cameras for the first round of the Challenge Cup

The head coach of Orrell St James is excited to welcome TV cameras to Banks Avenue Playing Fields for their first round Challenge Cup-tie this weekend.

By Amos Wynn
Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 12:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 1:23 pm
Orrell St James play in the opening round of the Challenge Cup this weekend (Credit: Stuart Prescott)
Orrell St James play in the opening round of the Challenge Cup this weekend (Credit: Stuart Prescott)

Sean McHugh has been with the club for nearly 35 years, starting as a player before working his way up to his current role.

His side will take on Army Rugby League on Saturday (12.30pm), with the game available to watch on BBC streaming services.

McHugh said: “It’s really good because not everyone will know who Orrell St James are outside of Wigan, and this will be available to a nationwide audience.

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The game will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport (Credit: Stuart Prescott)

“It gives everyone a chance to find out what we are about and show off the facilities we have. It’s a very big day for the club and gives everyone something to focus on.

“ We will get quite a few people down watching, and hopefully there will be a good audience on the TV too, because there’s not much else on at that time.

“We work long and hard here, so this is a massive achievement, but this is the start of something rather than the end.

“If it can attract people to play rugby then it all helps, and it’s good for the community.

“It’s a great thing to show the kids at the club that one day they might be on the telly playing for their community side.

“All of a sudden, they can go into school and say their team has been on TV, because I see us as one big club.”

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McHugh is proud to be able to showcase the local talent in his side, and believes it is something that is very important.

“Being on the telly is great, but personally my big pride is knowing we have a gang of lads who are local, which feels like a bigger achievement than the match itself,” he said.

“And we are most proud of how the club is going. The boys have either come through the ranks or played for local schools.

“Something like 95 per cent of the team we will put out actually live in Orrell, or are in the catchment area, so it is massive for them and for the club.

“It’s not happened by accident, we try to get people who live in Orrell to come and play, instead of trying to create super teams by getting kids from all over.

“It gives you a feel of camaraderie, so we don’t need these team bonding days.

“We like to promote from within, as it means you don’t have to work too hard on the culture because it’s already there.

“It works for us, and we want Orrell kids to feel like part of a community.

“It starts at the top, so if the head coach, the chairman and people like that are all local, then you’ve got a good starting point.

“It’s such a family club, a lot of the people here have come through as players and stayed on.

“It’s something I’m very passionate about, and there’s only one club for me.”

McHugh acknowledges the squad are not fully match ready for a game so early in the year, but have done as much as they can.

“It’s been thrown together, we’ve trained Tuesdays and Thursdays, and had a Saturday session,” he added.

“We’ve not had any warmup games, this is our first of the season, so we will just see how it goes.

“We’ll be prepared, but it’s a tough one because we like to play a lot of rugby, and the conditions probably won’t be suitable for that, so we’ll have to tough it out.

“It’ll not be ideal, but we are ready to do a job, and we will compete.”

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