KC: World Club Pride

KEIRON Cunningham says Sunday’s World Club Challenge will be the proudest moment of his career.

Saints’ Head Coach leads his men into battle against South Sydney Rabbitohs at a sold out Langtree Park – to find out who is the best rugby league club on the planet.

“It is one of the biggest events for the club in its history and massive for the town to host such an event,” he said. “We could have sold this game twice over.

“I won’t have had a prouder moment as a St Helens boy than seeing Souths walk out on to Langtree Park. It is an honour for us to be rubbing shoulders with these giants of the game.

“I think the format of the series is good and the League is revolutionising the game. The people who run the game should be proud of what they are achieving and where they are taking the sport.

“Having matches like this on a world stage puts our game in the hands of spectators all around the world.”

Saints go into the clash in good form with two wins and only two tries conceded in their 100 per cent start to the season.

“The boys have performed well,” Keiron added, “and are improving each week. What we need to do now is put the complete performance together.

“We aren’t far off – in the Wigan friendly we were excellent in the first half and at Salford we were outstanding for the last 50 minutes. We need to start games better and when we do that, we will be difficult to beat.

“The players know what they have to do to keep their shirt and with the way the younger players are performing it will be hard to remove it from them. I won’t put reputation ahead of quality.”

It’s likely to be more of the same for Cunningham’s men as he doesn’t envisage any changes from the squad that beat Salford.

Luke Walsh won’t be fit though as the virus from last week, coupled with his return from serious injury, has made his comeback unrealistic.

“My halves are playing well anyway and he won’t be risked even for a game of this magnitude,” Cunningham explained. “I don’t want to burden him mentally and physically as he will be involved with us a lot this season. He is a precious player in my team and we have to keep him on the field for as long as we possibly can.

“I am confident in the quality of my players. We have a really good work ethic as a squad. I am comfortable with where we are at in attack and defence.

“Souths are a fantastic team; I look at Michael Maguire as a coaching idol. He has done well in his career and to go back to Australia and do the same with Souths was phenomenal.

“It will be good for me to pit my wits against him and learn some things too. I now have the opportunity as a coach to see a great team play against the best team in the world.”

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