Wigan stalwart Liam Farrell is backing young forward Kai Pearce-Paul (pictured) to carry on his progression under new coach Matt Peet this year.
The studious second row – he combines his rugby with a sports and exercise science degree course at the University of Central Lancashire at Preston – enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last time around, culminating in an England Knights appearance in the 56-4 win over Jamaica at Castleford in October.
The former London Broncos Academy player, who moved north on a four-year contract at the end of 2019, at a time when Melbourne Storm were also said to be interested in him, played in 19 of his club’s 28 games in Super League and Challenge Cup, starting 13 of them.
That followed his debut from the bench in the 42-0 league defeat by St Helens at the AJ Bell Stadium in September 2020.
Such was the impact of the rangy player, who was born in Bromley in South-East London and turns 21 on February 19, that he shared Wigan’s 2021 player of the year award with fellow forward Joe Shorrocks.
Now the Croydon Hurricanes product, whose elder brother Kam plays for London Skolars and youngest brother Kaden is part of the Academy squad at rugby union club Saracens, is aiming to push on under a new coaching team that includes Peet, who has succeeded Adrian Lam, Sean O’Loughlin, the club’s former star loose-forward, and Lee Briers.
And long-serving backrower Farrell believes Pearce-Paul can do just that.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how Kai goes,” he said.
“He had a really good year last year and I think he’s looking great in the off-season, so I’m excited, not just about him but all the younger lads.”
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