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Paul Wellens reacts to St Helens losing first game of 2024

St Helens Head Coach Paul Wellens

St Helens started their 2024 with a defeat against Swinton Lions with a very young and inexperienced team in one of the two games yesterday.

They impressed and ran things close coming back from 20-6 down to make it close with 15 minutes to go at 28-18 but it wasn’t to be for the young Saints side who produced a valiant effort in the game and showed their potential despite the freezing conditions they were playing in from the start.

The Saints start their season against the newly promoted London Broncos who beat them twice the last time they were in Super League.

The Saints have a big game within the first five as well taking on rivals Leeds Rhinos in Round Five. This will have been a great learning experience for the Saints.

Paul Wellens pleased with St Helens performance

St Helens coach Paul Wellens

St Helens v Catalans Dragons Picture by Ed Sykes/ – 13/07/2023 – Rugby League – Betfred Super League Round 19 – St Helens v Catalans Dragons – The Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens, England – St Helens head coach Paul Wellens St Helens England Copyright: x xSWpix.comxt/axPhotographyxHubxLtdxEdxSykes/SWpix.comx SWP-2136-0004

Speaking to Saints TV, Paul Wellens revealed that he was delighted with the display from his players in the game.

He said: “Learning experience, particularly for a lot of our younger players. For a lot of our younger players, what worries them is that it’s a step up in class in terms of what they’re used to playing against. And certainly a step up in physicality as well.

“So I think they learn a lot of lessons from it. And if they’re prepared to, as young players, really look at the game honestly and reflect, there’s so much improvement to be made, both individually and collectively, from their perspective.”

He also said that these players are likely to emulate the likes of George Delaney and make a push for first-team rugby in 2024:

“So I think it should be a really exciting experience for the young kids that off the back of that they’re going to learn a lot of valuable lessons. You saw what happened with George at the end of last year, spending six or seven weeks at Swinton at the start of the year, you know what that can do for a player.

“So I’m very hopeful that I’ll be calling on a few of our players to give them similar experiences because playing Championship rugby is a step up in class in terms of the level of rugby that a lot of these kids have been playing.

“But certainly, I certainly didn’t come here today expecting a really high level of game at this stage of the year and these types of games with all of the competitive use cases.”

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