Paul’s presence will pay dividends: Walton

Halifax coach Mark Walton has praised the influence of dual-code star Henry Paul ahead of the home date with Ossett in Yorkshire Four tomorrow.

Paul, who played league for New Zealand before representing England in the 15-man code courtesy of grandparents who were born in Liverpool, has been an occasional presence at Ovenden Park after accepting an invitation from Walton.

“We have all read the same coaching manuals and been on the same courses, but Henry does things at a different intensity,” said Walton.

“The guys naturally focus more when it is someone like that taking the session and they’re going to benefit from that.

“I knew Henry was back in the area coaching Bradford and Bingley and I just rang him and asked him if he’d be interested in taking a one-off session.

“As it is, he’s been down three times so far in between his other commitments and he’s a really decent chap.

“I am a great believer in the old saying ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ and it’s working out well for us.”

Victory tomorrow would leave Walton with a 50/50 record after six games, a ratio he says he could “live with” ahead of what promises to be a tough November.

“We’ve got Ossett tomorrow and Leeds Corinthians after that and, without wanting to sound disrespectful, those are two games we would hope to be winning,” said Walton, who used last weekend’s break from league action to organise a friendly against Stanley Rodillians, Halifax winning 25-17.

“We need to get a couple of good results because the next month looks quite difficult.

“That’s why we played Rodillians; they’re pushing for promotion in Yorkshire Five and they’re very much in the same dogged mould as Ossett and Corinthians.

“That game was all about preparing for the next two weeks.”

Halifax will welcome back last season’s top points and try scorer Nick Bull, who has been touring Australia with the Royal Navy’s rugby league side, and he should bolster a talented but youthful back division.

“I think the average age of the backs last week was 19,” said Walton.

“We’ve got seven players in the side who have come through our academy and there are a lot of positives there for the future.”

England coach Stuart Lancaster has reinforced his selection policy over France-based players and made it clear that Steffon Armitage is not in line to be recalled for the QBE autumn internationals.

“When a player plays in France they are not available for our camps when we need them,” said Lancaster.