SAINTS and England hooker James Roby believes his decision to sit out the autumn international series was the best all round for club, country and himself.
Roby has played back-to-back rugby since 2006 and spotted the chance to have a break in advance of the 2013 World Cup.
He did talk through his decision with England boss Steve McNamara, who more or less sanctioned the energetic former Man of Steel’s decision.
Roby explained: “I made the decision a couple of months before the end of last season and rang Steve up and said ‘if I am selected for the end of season internationals, I have decided to give it a miss’.
“I felt like I needed a rest from rugby, mentally as well as physically.
“Steve was fantastic, really understanding and told me that it would not hinder my chances for the England team in future.”
And this is a massive international year for Roby, with the World Cup taking place at the end of what will be another gruelling season.
“The end of last season was going to be the best opportunity for a rest with this year being the World Cup year,” he said.
“Having rested I can now hopefully have a good season for St Helens, right from the get-go and carry that into the World Cup.”
This year, with Roby withdrawing and Jon Wilkin deciding to have an elbow operation, was the first time for a long time that Saints did not have involvement in the international series.
It may have a positive impact - that is certainly what Roby hopes for anyhow having enjoyed a proper off-season for once.
“After you play internationals, you have four weeks off, but by the time you return to your club you are playing catch up with fitness and weights, but also with any ideas a new coach may have.
“By having a pre season I have had the chance to do some weights and fitness and see some benefits after five or six weeks.
“On top of that I have enjoyed the camaraderie of the pre-season that I have missed at Saints in this last few years.
“I have played a lot of rugby this past few years and was getting little niggles and tired playing the game.
“I am really glad I took a break for myself and it was the right choice for me personally and i feel better for it,” Roby said.