St Helens ace Jon Wilkin believes rugby league is failing at school

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JON WILKIN can see every day where he feels rugby league is going wrong – not getting enough schools playing the game.

The St Helens ace trains at a renowned school in the area, one that has produced several Super League players.

 Jon Wilkin believes rugby league is missing a trick by not investing in schools
Jon Wilkin believes rugby league is missing a trick by not investing in schools

Yet beside the pitch where he works every day, a car from the Rugby Football Union is spotted regularly – and Cowley International College is definitely the exception as it has a link with its local club.

And Wilkin believes the classrooms and pitches of educational establishments are where the 13-a-side code is missing most opportunities to grow.

He said: “I’ve always thought we’ve neglected the schools, who have facilities, teachers, time, equipment and a captive audience.

“The more investment in coaching and actually getting rugby league on the curriculum or in the classrooms or training pitches would be a game changer.

“Rugby union has always invested in schools to promote the game. Everyone’s connection with that game is usually from playing it at school.

 Wilkin believes getting more schools involved would be a 'game changer'.
Wilkin believes getting more schools involved would be a ‘game changer’.

“Whereas we take kids out of school and coach them in a private club.

“We need a plan for everything and it needs to be all-encompassing. As a rugby league fan, I get sick of seeing everyone pulling in their own direction.

Back-rower Wilkin, 34, hopes Saints can go further than last year but if they do he will not be lifting trophies after losing the captaincy to James Roby.

But there are definitely no hard feelings as he added: “You have to put your ego aside in sport and I’m really proud for James. Nobody deserves it more than him.

“He’s a local guy who has become world class at something and it’s only right that the club recognises that. There’s no hard feelings at all and you’ve got to leave your ego at the door.”



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