Saints set stall out to stop Inglis

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Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham says his side must stop Greg Inglis if they are to get their hands on the World Club Challenge trophy.

The South Sydney, Queensland and Australia full-back has been identified as the main threat posed by the NRL champions in Sunday night’s eagerly-awaited climax to the new World Club Series at Langtree Park.

Inglis, who was in the Melbourne team that beat Leeds in the 2010 World Club Challenge, has taken over from John Sutton as captain of the Rabbitohs and will be pivotal in their attack, according to Cunningham.

“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime player,” said Cunningham. “It will be good to see him running around on Langtree Park.

“We will need to bring a complete performance or he will hurt us.”

Cunningham’s sentiments are echoed by his captain Jon Wilkin, who is also wary of the threat posed by New Zealand Test hooker Issac Luke.

“Our biggest challenge will be stopping them getting the momentum they are used to getting,” Wilkin said. “Issac Luke is dangerous out of dummy half and obviously Greg Inglis is a huge talent.

“Every team has game-breakers and Souths have two fantastic players who would stand out in any team they play for.”

At least Saints will not have to contend with Sam Burgess, the hero of South’s 30-6 win over Canterbury Bulldogs, who is now playing rugby union for Bath and will be sitting alongside Russell Crowe among the capacity 18,000 crowd on Sunday.

“Sam’s a great player and he leaves his own legacy,” said Souths’ former Wigan coach Michael Maguire. “But we’ve got a couple of players that have come in and, although they’re different types of players, they’re very experienced.

“Glenn Stewart has played in two of these World Club Challenges and Timmy Grant is a great player who has played at State of Origin level.”

Stewart, who has joined Souths from Manly, will go up against St Helens’ Australian stand-off Travis Burns, who was best man at the loose forward’s wedding.

Luke Burgess, oldest of the four brothers, has also left the Rabbitohs since the end of last season but 22-year-old twins George and Tom remain to keep the family connection going and Maguire admits they have become integral members of the team.

“To see the twins come across and really grow the way they have is pleasing,” Maguire said.

“When they first came, they were learning their trade and developing themselves, now they’re two senior members of the team who turn up week in, week out and perform at their best.

“They’re very passionate about how they prepare themselves and how they want to be seen and perform.”

The Rabbitohs are the bookmakers’ favourites to maintain the domination of the NRL clubs, who have won five of the last six World Club Challenges, and Inglis insists: “We’ve come here to win.

“That’s the way our club is at the moment. We’ve brought our strongest possible side. There are some players left out who would have loved to come.”

Wilkin, who missed the last two months of the 2014 season with a shoulder injury, is one of only two survivors from St Helens’ last World Club Challenge triumph, against Brisbane Broncos in 2007, and is excited by the prospect of further international glory.

“I’ve been thinking about the World Club Series since August,” he said. “I didn’t know which fixture we’d be playing but I knew it was potentially the next big game I’d get opportunity to prep for so for me this has been a focus for me personally since then.

“For the club, pre-season has been all about this game and the first two rounds in Super League have been a means to prepare for this match.

“There are very few opportunities in a player’s career – or even any professional career, not just sport – where you get to be crowned the best in the world at what you do.”

Published: Saturday 21st February 2015 by The News Editor

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