20 July 2023

Jack Welsby says St Helens are ready for ‘biggest game of the season’

20 July 2023

Jack Welsby insists St Helens are getting back to their best ahead of their “biggest game of the season” against Leigh in the Challenge Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

The Challenge Cup eluded the defending Super League champions for 13 years prior to their win in 2021, when they beat Castleford 26-12, and they are now bidding to reclaim the title.

St Helens have enjoyed an upturn in form in recent weeks, but saw a two-match winning run end with a 14-12 defeat to Catalans Dragons last Thursday ahead of their clash with the in-form Leopards at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Full-back Welsby told the PA news agency: “It’s been a bit of a different year than we are used to.

“We had a really great start in Australia but then came back and struggled for a bit of form but in recent weeks we are looking more like ourselves.

“There is still ample amounts of confidence in the group and we are really ready to go this week. This is the biggest game of the season so far, this is the one that really matters and hopefully we can get it right.”

James Roby and Mark Percival will miss the clash after failing head injury assessments.

Welsby admits the absence of the duo will be a big one but it offers the opportunity for other players to make a name for themselves on the big stage.

He said: “You can play it down and say you can move on but the likes of Roby being out as your captain is a pretty big loss.

This is the biggest game of the season so far, this is the one that really matters and hopefully we can get it right

“Then Mark Percival who is probably the best centre in the competition for the last five years or so, they are two massive losses and two massive personalities in the dressing room so they are big boots to fill but we are more than confident with the players coming in.

“There’s lots of opportunities out there this weekend and lots of incentive and all the boys will be ready come Saturday.”

Welsby has scored eight tries so far this campaign but feels his performances can still improve.

He added: “I’ve been a bit hit and miss. Some games I’ve been at my best and some games I’ve not, I’m still learning and still have a lot to learn.

“Probably got a bit of a lesson with the way Sam Tomkins played at the weekend but I’m enjoying my rugby and just hope we hit a bit of form going into the back end of the season.”

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