St Helens have confirmed that James Roby will replace Jon Wilkin as captain as first team captain for the 2018 season.

The hooker enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2017 and was subsequently selected by Wayne Bennett for last autumn’s World Cup, where he again impressed as England reached the final of the tournament.

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James RobyIn a candid message on St Helens’ YouTube channel, head coach Justin Holbrook said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce that the 2018 St Helens captain will be James Roby. Robes is a perfect fit for our club and I’m really looking forward to him captaining us this year.

“There are two major reasons why I’m making a change for the club captain. The first is that Wilkin will have limited game time this year and I want our captain to be on the field for all or if not the majority of the game.

“The second is that I think James deserves to captain his club and if he doesn’t do it now, he might run out of time.

“I want to thank Jon Wilkin, he’s done a fantastic job for the last three years as club captain. Wilko is a very busy man but he always puts the club first.”

St Helens begin their Betfred Super League campaign at home to Castleford Tigers on Friday 2 February, live on Sky Sports.