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“That’s on them” – Paul Wellens puts blame on St Helens players after shock loss

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A surprise home loss to Castleford Tigers has seen St Helens head coach Paul Wellens point the finger at his players for failing to execute, even arguing that debutants Jonny Vaughan and Jake Burns were “probably let down by a lot of their teammates”.

It marks the second narrow defeat in a row for Saints after the 20-18 loss to Salford in Round 15 but an 8-6 defeat at home to ninth-placed Castleford Tigers will sting a lot more, especially given the fact Paul Wellens’ side beat the Tigers at The Jungle 60-4 just a few weeks ago.

That win at The Jungle saw Saints run in 52 unanswered points in the second half and with the score just 4-0 at halftime last night, there will have been worries in the Castleford dressing room that a collapse was on the way. However, it never came with St Helens players casting frustrated figures and making countless errors to allow Craig Lingard’s team back into the game.

The performance and attitude of some of those St Helens players have now been questioned by Paul Wellens who has argued that not enough players are respecting the “privilege” that it is to pull on a Saints jersey. He also criticised the abandonment of the gameplan, something that has led him to point the finger at his players for the loss.

Despite that, many St Helens fans are adamant that it is Paul Wellens at fault with the calls for him to be sacked being incredibly loud once again last night, on both social media and at The Totally Wicked Stadium where boos rang out at the final hooter.

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Are St Helens players letting Paul Wellens down?

St Helens' Jack Welsby celebrates with Jon Bennison at Headingley Stadium.

Credit: Imago Images

Paul Wellens had pointed out that nine first-team players were missing from the squad that lost last night, however, he had maintained that there was enough quality to win the game. Some of that quality shone through in youngster Sam Royle who scored the sole try for the Red Vee but Wellens has claimed that Royle and debutants Jake Burns and Jonny Vaughan were let down by their teammates.

Speaking to the media, Paul Wellens explained: “Every time you get the chance to pull on this jersey, it’s a privilege and you’ve got to play as though it is. We have too many at the moment who don’t seem to do that.

“Two young kids, you’re never going to lack energy on your debut are you? They were probably let down by a lot of their teammates tonight.”

He also suggested that players abandoned the game plan in attack as he lauded praise on attacking coach Laurent Frayssinous before slamming the players for overcomplicating the matter.

“Rugby League is a North South game. Go forward, create one on ones, build momentum but we seemed to want to score all our tries, out wide, diving in the corner,” Wellens argued.

“It’s frustrating because Laurent (Frayssinous) our attack coach is a rugby nerd. He spends hours and hours watching vision footage and trimming it down to come up with a game plan for the players to execute.

“We didn’t do that tonight, we didn’t follow it through. If we have a game plan that we stick to, and we don’t get it right, then that’s on us. But if we have a game plan that the players don’t stick to, then that’s on them. They have to accept that.”

It doesn’t look set to get any easier for St Helens with their next three fixtures coming against Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and Leigh Leopards, a trio of games that could spell more trouble for Paul Wellens.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    July 6, 2024 at 6:28 pm

    If the players aren’t in the mind set to play it doesn’t matter what the coach tells them to do they won’t

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