How a 30-pint session helped Victor Radley settle in England! Aussie import recalls boozy binge with captain Sam Tomkins that put him on the road to a World Cup semi-final with Samoa
- Much was made of Shaun Wane’s selection of Victor Radley for the World Cup
- Radley was born and brought up in Sydney, where he still plays for the Roosters
- Skipper Sam Tomkins soon made him feel welcome — and in true English style
- Radley said he and Tomkins went for a ‘coffee’ which turned into ’30 pints’
If England go on to win the World Cup, they can thank a 30-pint binge in Manchester for putting them on the path to glory.
Before the tournament, much was made of Shaun Wane’s selection of Victor Radley, who was born and brought up in Sydney, where he still plays for the Roosters in the NRL. But if Radley had any fears about how he would be received by his new team-mates, his skipper Sam Tomkins soon made him feel welcome — and in true English style.
‘He was the first to send me a message and said, ‘Come down for a coffee’, which turned into about 30 pints!’ smiles Radley, who qualified for England through his Sheffield-born father.
Much was made of Shaun Wane’s selection of Victor Radley for the Rugby League World Cup
‘It was just me and Sam and it was good fun. That was one of the first days I was here and it was really good of Sam to reach out. For about two weeks until I got a car sorted, he was also driving me around everywhere, so I was like his son!
‘But everyone has been so welcoming here. They want to make sure you are OK, that you are having a good time and that your family is OK.
‘When you are with 24 lads for a long period of time, you become really, really close. We’ve worked hard, we’ve had a lot of fun, we’ve had a few pints. I have had the best time.’
Radley’s seamless integration, on and off the pitch, has been a huge factor in England’s success so far. The loose forward has started all four of their World Cup games and will again line up against Samoa in Saturday’s semi-final at the Emirates.
Radley was born and brought up in Sydney, where he still plays for the Roosters in the NRL
Skipper Sam Tomkins (right) soon made Radley feel welcome — and in true English style
There, he will meet his 19-year-old Roosters team-mate Joseph Suaalii, who starred for the Samoans in their quarter-final victory over Tonga and is widely viewed as one of the most exciting talents in the world.
‘He’s a young freak,’ says Radley. ‘Everyone says once in a generation, but he is. He’s a really good, tough and skilful player. He has been their best player and he was one of our best players for the Roosters, too. We are going to have to do a job on him. But we have looked at him, we know what’s coming and we will take care of it.’
England have already managed to keep Suaalii quiet once before, when they slaughtered Samoa 60-6 in their World Cup opener, with Radley named man of the match at St James’ Park.
But the hosts are expecting Samoa to pose a tougher test in London.
Radley’s (right) seamless integration has been a huge factor in England’s success so far
‘They are definitely going to be stronger,’ says Radley. ‘It’s going to take 17 hard Englishman to stop them but that’s what we’ve got.’
Should they see off Samoa, Radley — despite only being in the England set-up six weeks — does not need telling how significant it would be to win next Saturday’s final at Old Trafford.
‘Brian Lockwood came in to speak to us from the last British team that won 50 years ago,’ adds the 24-year-old. ‘So I know how special it will be if we do it. That’s why we’re working hard to get it and create history for England.’
Do that and there will be cause for another big drinking session.
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