New Warrington Wolves winger Josh Charnley admits he was shocked to learn that very few people in rugby union were aware last year’s Rugby League World Cup was taking place.
Charnley is back in the 13-man game with Warrington following an 18-month stint with Sale Sharks, where he made 32 appearances for the rugby union side.
However, he confessed that he was stunned to see how few of his team-mates actually knew about England’s run to the World Cup final late last year.
“None of the union lads knew that England were in the World Cup,” he said – while insisting he is hopeful the sport’s profile can grow in the coming years amidst talk aplenty of international expansion.
“The advertisement for it isn’t big, but it is growing. There are other countries wanting to take on the game with Toronto and New Jersey, so while it needs a bit more advertisement, it is getting there.
“We need a bit more push, because it’s a great sport and a lot of the union and football lads love league, so if we can get out there and prove it’s a good sport, we can make it global. It surprised me they didn’t know about the World Cup, though.”
Meanwhile, Charnley admits he had several earlier opportunities with a number of clubs to return to league before ultimately settling on Warrington – including a bid from the Wolves in the off-season which League Express did reveal.
He said: “In November, my agent rung me and told me Warrington were interested in me, but I turned it down because I’d not proved myself yet in rugby union.
“I still had another year on my contract, and wasn’t interested in coming back so soon and being one of those guys who failed and came back. Then, five or six weeks ago I played against London Irish and it was my best game; I got the man of the match and I thought I’d cracked it.
“I’d not played since because the competition is quite tough at Sale; there’s Denny (Solomona), who’s an international – plus Marland Yarde and Byron McGuigan who are both internationals too. It’s tough to play week in week out, and I didn’t want to sit around, wait and devalue as a player. The opportunity came up again to come here, we agreed terms and it’s all happened very quickly.”
Charnley is unlikely to feature in Friday’s game against Wakefield Trinity.