Woolf admits World Cup is in a “difficult position”

St Helens Head Coach Kristian Woolf says he understands hesitations from overseas about playing the World Cup later this year.

The World Cup is due to take place in England in October/November. Reports are suggesting some players are reluctant to travel.

While Woolf, who is also Tonga Head Coach, would prefer for the competition to go ahead, he also understands where the hesitations are coming from.

He said: “My personal preference from a Tonga point of view is that it goes ahead. I know there is conversation around what sort of commitments players and staff are going to have to make in terms of quarantine and a bubble lifestyle.

“I’d have no hesitation in saying the Tonga players would have no drama with that whatsoever. I say that on the back of that I know what playing for Tonga in a World Cup means to the players.

“But it’s about more than Tonga, there are several nations and a number of things that need to be considered. I would be disappointed, and I know a lot of people associated with Tonga would be. But I do understand where the hesitation has come from, and we need to make a decision.”

On whether or not the tournament would go ahead, he added: “If I was asked a month ago, I probably would have thought we had enough positivity going on that we could get to a World Cup and have a really good experience. My gut feeling would have been that it would go ahead for that reason.

“But just with the impact we have had in our competition, and looking at what has happened in Australia over the last week or so, then it puts it in a really difficult position.

“I’m hopeful it will go ahead, but I can see the hesitation after what has happened in the last couple of weeks.”