Kristian Woolf believes Tonga’s World Cup hopes have been bolstered as a result of their base being St Helens.
Woolf, the Saints coach, will guide Tonga in next year’s World Cup.
They will play against Wales and Papua New Guinea at the Totally Wicked Stadium, and Woolf admits the prospect of the competition has already excited him.
“It’s great to be playing at St Helens,” he said.
“I was a part of the 2013 World Cup. I wasn’t the coach at that stage, but one thing that made it really difficult is that Tonga doesn’t have the greatest of finances. Being able to have people on the ground over here and not having the familiarity of the area and the field, playing conditions and everything, made it really difficult that year.
“But with myself being here and in regular contact, it makes those things a little easier and to make that even better again at a venue and a town I’m really familiar with and will be even more familiar with after two years is certainly going to help the team and the preparations.
“With the schedule coming out and it’s starting to get a little bit more talked about now, it generates a bit more talk and everything else. But it’s a long way to go still and there’s lot to get done before we get to games.”
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