Former Warrington Wolves star and Wigan Warriors assistant Lee Briers has proven to be a very impressive assistant coach.
The former halfback revitalised Wigan’s attack last year before earning a big move to Brisbane Broncos where he has been helping the club to being a title contender for the first time in years.
He has now taken on the England assistant coach role alongside Shaun Wane.
He will be joined by former Hull FC coach and Castleford Tigers coach Andy Last.
Meanwhile, St Helens coach is on the other side of the coin acting as Tonga assistant coach.
On this shock appointment, Wellens said on BBC Radio Merseyside:
“I worked as Kristian’s assistant coach for three years when he came to the club. Over that period of time, we became very close colleagues but became good friends off the back of that. Not just myself and Christian but our families also.
“When he approached me a number of weeks ago now about the possibility of helping him out with Tonga. It’s something that I gave careful consideration to, but given the relationship I have with Wolfie, it’s one that excites me.
“First and foremost, getting the opportunity to work with Kristian again, but also doing something a bit different, something that’s obviously challenging when I’m working with a team that I suppose if you said to me four or five years ago, you’d be working with Tonga then I’d never believed you.
“No, I think they’ve been well received by them. Obviously I’ve got a really close working relationship with all those boys, Agnatius (Paasi), Hop (Will Hopoate) and Konnie (Konrad Hurrell”.
“I know in the time they’ve been here, I know what representing Tonga means to those blokes. So yeah, they’ve been totally fine with it. There’s not been a lot said really.
“I think what is obviously important and my priority from now to the end of the season is what happens here. The Tonga role is something that is exciting but that’s obviously a bit further down the track.”
Before that, Wellens has the small matter of trying to win the Super League trophy Tonga boss Kristian Woolf won last year.