Regan Grace: Being absent from Wales will be 'difficult'

Regan Grace
Regan Grace made his St Helens debut against Wigan in 2017
European Rugby League Championship: France v Wales
Venue: Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne Date: Saturday, 27 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Watch live on the BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio Wales

Regan Grace admits it will be "difficult" to watch and not play for Wales as they attempt to defend their European Championship title.

But the 22-year-old St Helens winger is backing his countrymen to prosper as they take on France, Ireland and Scotland after opting to rest before the 2019 Super League season.

"It will be difficult because you want to be there and get stuck in," he said.

Wales' campaign begins in Carcassone against France on Saturday.

Grace will take a keen interest in the tournament, but feels he has made the right decision to miss it, along with loose-forward and club team-mate Morgan Knowles.

"We've got a really young side, but I know some of them and they're skilled players and you can't doubt their efforts whatsoever," he added.

'Deflated' after 2017 World Cup

Grace says he feels he needs a period of rest following such an exhausting schedule.

"It's the first year I've had a break, really, and I felt like I needed it, especially after last year," he told BBC Sport Wales.

"I loved being in the (2018) World Cup and everything, but after it I came back a bit deflated into pre-season and I missed half of pre-season.

"Then I felt I was catching back up with myself for the beginning of our Super League season until I got back into my stride again."

Grace believes St Helens were the most consistent team in Super League, but "doesn't know why" they lost their semi-final against Warrington Wolves as well as being well beaten by eventual winners Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup semi-finals.

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Wales' Rhodri Lloyd reveals a text from team-mate Mike Butt resulted in a Wales call-up.

"We won most of our games and were the most consistent team, but we just fell short in the big games," Grace told BBC Sport Wales.

'I want to win trophies'

Grace left rugby union in Port Talbot as a 17-year-old to pursue a rugby league career and has scored 29 tries in 57 Saints appearances over two senior seasons after moving up from the club's junior ranks.

He says he has had no approaches over a return to union and has set his sights on becoming "a legend with St Helens".

He added: "When I left union, I never thought 'oh, I'm never coming back'.

"It was just that league was the opportunity that came to me because I was at an age where I was playing amateur rugby and a little bit of rugby league for a school, but there was nothing coming of that.

"We played two games in a whole year, or whatever, and I just got to a point where I had to do something if I was going to play rugby for my job.

"Whilst I'm at Saints I want to win trophies. I've come close enough twice, but it's not good enough.

"I want to win something. I don't just want to be a player in a team and not be known for anything.

"I want to go down in history, really and win some silverware because we haven't won any trophies in such a long time. The town and the team needs it, really."

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