Rugby League World Cup: Shaun Wane praises the impact Kai Pearce-Paul and Joe Batchelor have had on the England team
England head coach Shaun Wane has praised the attitude of Wigan Warriors’ Kai Pearce-Paul.
Along with St Helens’ Joe Bachelor, the 21-year-old will make his first appearance of the Rugby League World Cup in this Saturday’s game against Greece at Bramall Lane.
Wane states both players reacted well to being left out of the first two games of the tournament.
He said: “These lads have shown me many many years of good quality, and that’s why they got in the 24-man squad.
“Their attitude has stood out. It wasn’t an easy conversation, saying to two players that always get picked that they weren’t in.
“I can’t emphasise just how hard that conversation is.
“They are one of the first picks for Wigan and Saints every week because they are very talented players.
“I gave my reasons why, and they were very honest reasons.
“Both of their responses were ‘we need to make training good and make sure they are the best sessions.
“Marc Sneyd and Andy Ackers were the same. It’s exactly the way it should be.
“We have a thought process of big team, little me.
“It’s not just about me, it’s not just about Kai (Pearce-Paul), it’s not just about Batch (Joe Batchelor); it’s about England.
“They’ve gone out and made our sessions absolute quality, and that’s how you end up beating Samoa the way we did.
“What they have done for the belief of the squad has massively helped up.
“Now it’s other people’s turn not to play, and they’ve got to make the sessions better to make sure these two are shining on Saturday.
“I can’t tell you how enjoyable my job is to coach really good players, everything is easier.
“They talk better in meetings, with lots of encouragement of how we can do things better. We go out on the field and practice drills, and everything is about improvement.
“These two lads are miles better than I was as a player.”
Wane says the inclusion of Pearce-Paul and Batchelor will be among a few changes he will make to his side.
“It’s going to be slightly different but the intent will be the same,” he added.
“We’ve got 24 people in the squad and I need to see everybody.
“It’s really important to do that, because I want everyone fit, ready and hungry.
“I also want to be fair, it’s the right thing to do. I’ve brought talented players into the squad and I want them all to play.
“I want to see Kai in a couple of positions.
“Sam (Tomkins) will get a break this week, he’s got a few things he needs to sort out with his body, but will be flying for the quarter-finals.
“It could be Jack Welsby at fullback for a bit.
“This game will go a long way in shaping my 17 for a quarter-final.
“I can honestly say if it gets to a knockout game I want to genuinely choose from 17 players, I don’t want to write anyone off.”