IT is two years since Welsh flyer Regan Grace first erupted on to the first team stage against Wigan when he dashed into the corner, past Thomas Leuluai’s despairing tackle, to get everyone among the 23,000 Good Friday talking.

He has not looked back since ­— rarely being out of the starting 13 ­— and adding little bits of improvement to his game to ensure he has more in his locker than pure pace.

Those that had seen him shine for the invincible 2016 Academy team - and had passed on their tales of how the lightning quick youngster from Port Talbot was setting the wing alight - soon formed a strong lobby for the youngster’s inclusion.

And although Grace admits to be champing at the bit for a first team crack - his final breakthrough into the first team - handed to him by stand-in coaching triumvirate of Sean Long, Derek Traynor and Jamahl Lolesi - came at the right time.

Grace said: “I wasn’t patient. I was trying to get my spot in the team from the moment I came up here.

“I was was probably more ready to play when I did actually make my debut – than when I thought I was.

“I am just glad they gave me the chance.

“I knew a lot of people who watched the academy games were calling for me to get a chance – and word gets around. we have a great Academy set up and we are churning out class players all the time. They wanted to see me get a chance.”

There is no substitute for pace ­— and that is what jumped out straight away, but Grace has added strings to his bow as he has established himself.

He is now much safer under the high ball, often returning it with interest, and is more physically robust with his defensive challenges.

But the 22-year-old has a hunger to keep learning and developing, and has developed a good, stop-start means of wrong-footing defenders.

He said: “I don’t want to be just a one-trick pony. I don’t want to just be the player that scores – I wasn’t to assist too and start something off that leads to someone scoring.

“My coaches encourage me to back myself. Coaches like Derek Traynor in the 19s were great in getting me to learn the game after coming from union.

“Now people like Paul Wellens, who is class and has done it since he was a kid, passes a lot of that knowledge on.

“He will see something I have done wrong and will point it out and then I do it better the next week.

“He also rewards the good work too – pulled me up on something I have done well and he’ll say do that again. Jonny Lomax, too, helps a lot with my positional play,” he said.

And this year he has the benefit of another master in setting him up for chances on the flank in Australian full back Lachlan Coote.

It is working well - and has even been captured in song, and Grace is lapping it up.

“Coote is a great player and knows how to play with each player well, our strengths and weakness.

“He will improve your game and his own at the same time,” said the Welshman.

This Friday they come up against Warrington - and last time out he scored a dazzling, dancing try that left a trail of players in his wake - copping a late crack across the face for his endeavours.

Wolves wing Tom Lineham copped a one-match ban for his troubles, but Grace refused to let the pain spoil his celebrations, taking the cheers from the crowd before the trainer ran on with a towel to stem the blood from his nose.

“That smack in the face hurt at the time but I thought it isn’t going to hurt forever so I’d rather enjoy the good moment rather than stay on the floor,” he said.

Hopefully he can leave a similar trail of players in his wake on Friday - but with no crack in the face this time.

A win on Friday would give Saints a huge eight-point cushion at the Super League summit, but Grace is not getting carried away after the two competition-ending jolts they suffered last term against Catalans and Warrington respectively.

He said: "We are not looking too much into being six points clear because you have still got to win your games as well.

"We have put ourselves in a good position but it comes down to the business end and we have to win those vital games.

"When it comes down to the day we have to be on form.

"You learn your lessons and that is the thing from this year we are the same team but we have re-focussed on what we need to do, what is up for grabs.

"Last year the Challenge Cup defeat was awful – we were so close to Wembley but so far away.

"We did not play that game right at all."

Grace's performances have been good enough to put his name on the radar of the Great Britain selectors on merit.

If he did earn selection he would follow in the footsteps of some the great Welsh wings in earning a Lions tour shirt - Billy Boston and Clive Sullivan - but all that is put at the back of his head for the time being.

He said: "Great Britain is a massive stage to be on but I really don’t look too far because I know there's a lot of competition for that team.

"It goes off form and we have got quite a few games left so it is about staying fit and on form, too."

Grace, who recently signed a contract extension until the end of the 2021 season, joined the club after playing rugby league for South Wales Scorpions at Under 16s and Wales at Under 18s.

He was 17 when he took the big step to head north, and at one stage shared a house with compatriot Calvin Wellington and French forward Levy Nzoungou.

He admits that he has grown up in St Helens - on and off the field.

"I came up here as a boy and have grown into a man here.

"It was a different world to Port Talbot, where I am from, and with being so close to a big city.

"It was good because I had just rugby around and no distractions.

"I liked to go out with my friends and did really train until I came here – I just used to turn up for games and play.

"I had a big shock when I came here and realised we had to train five days a week remember seeing my contract and it said 20 days holiday. And I thought could go and book 20 days off, but the lads said you won't get them.

"They are quite similar towns - Port Talbot is a working town and has the second largest steelworks in Europe so everyone has that toughness. St Helens is like that as an old glass town so they are quite similar.

"It is like a home from home," he said.

His family is immensely proud of him and come up to see him play every now and then.....and show their support very vocally.

"They try to come up as much as they can – little brother and little sister are really proud, my older ones too – there are five of us and they have all only been at the same time once.

"It was crazy I could hear them from where I was playing," he said.