SAINTS new head coach Kristian Woolf arrives in St Helens today (Thursday) ready to tackle a new challenge with the Super League champions.

And he has flown over in buoyant mood after masterminding a piece of rugby league history with his Tonga team being the first Tier 2 nation to beat Australia in a test match.

That incredible 16-12 victory in Auckland - ranked as the biggest shock in international rugby league - came hot on the heels of the Tonga Invitation XIII beating Great Britain in Hamilton

In Woolf’s five years as coach of Tonga, he has improved the nation’s world ranking from 14th to 4th and created a real buzz in the island nation.

Woolf said: “The blokes have become the first tier-two nation to beat the other tier ones and then knock off the best in the world.

“This leaves a real legacy for Tongan rugby league.

“There are going to be a lot more wins for Tonga RL that is for sure.

“There is no doubt we can go on and win more tier one games and have a crack at the World Cup.”

The 44-year-old has big boots to fill in replacing the hugely popular Coach of the Year Justin Holbrook, who guided Saints to their first Super League title since 2014 in October.

But his success in the autumn, particularly in the light of difficult off the field issues, will see him attack the role with some confidence.

He will get to work straight away, once he has got over the effects of the long flight.

He will know what he has to do, with the fixtures announced this week throwing up a tough start for Saints with the opening two games being repeats of last year’s finals against Salford and Warrington.

In week four, at the end of February, Saints are expected to be playing their World Club Challenge game at home to Sydney Roosters with the exact dates yet to be confirmed.

Saints play Toronto Wolfpack at Saracens home in London on February 29.