Alex Walmsley on how coach Paul Wellens can help keep the Saints at the top !

Full details about Alex Walmsley on how coach Paul Wellens can help keep the Saints at the top

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SAINTS’ Alex Walmsley saw his high-standard teammate Paul Wellens lead as captain of the club – and two months later he was already seeing the same high standard from the new manager at the training ground.

Wellens’ last two playing years coincided with the beginning of Walmsley’s time at Red vee, but in these two quarters the Yorkshireman has come up with a fair picture of what makes a local hero tick.

Walmsley has continued to observe these qualities during Wellens’ subsequent rise through the coaching ranks – from helping coaches Justin Holbrook and Christian Wolff, to taking over last October.

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Walmsley said: “Paul’s been involved in training setup for six or seven years – there’s a few of us who’ve played with Willow and I’ve played with him for two seasons.

“He plays at a high level and expects a high level from us as players. That’s how he was as a player – it was the standards we had to live up to as players when he was captain. As a coach it wouldn’t be any different.”

Wellens took over after three seasons with Woolf at the helm, years in which Saints added three more Premier League titles to the one won by Holbrook in 2019.

The Saints’ style has evolved in that time – but Walmsley sees the new boss’s merit as coming from within, even if he expects that continuity to be bolstered by some fresh ideas from Wellens and his assistant Laurentrayssinous.

Walmsley said: “One of the nice things about Wolfie’s letting and promotion as a coach on the inside is that we’ve had great success as a team and we know what works for us as a club.”

Wello has added its own ideas here and there, but overall, we want to keep the vast majority of what we’ve been doing the same way.

“We have a blueprint for that. What Wello does as head coach is make this transition for us players a little bit easier.

“We can’t sit at the top and expect the same thing to work out.”

Winning the Premier League title is tough – something bolstered by seeing just four clubs win the award since 1996.

Backing up is much more difficult, so doing it an unprecedented four times in a row is off the scale in a fixed-paying sport.

Going five in a row will be more challenging, but Walmsley thinks some new ideas will help their mission to maintain the lead.

Walmsley said: “Since 2019 it has become more difficult to go every year in support of the title.

“There is no doubt that it is difficult to stay on top and this year it is no different.

“All the other teams have strengthened again.

“Well, coming on as a head coach, bringing new ideas, will help us stay on top.

“The challenge will only get more difficult, but that doesn’t mean we have to tear the script apart and rewrite it all over again.

“There may be an adjustment, but our mentality in every game will not change – we have a style of rugby that suits us and it will need to adapt to make sure we are better.

“You cannot rest on your laurels in this game.”