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Saturday, 27 January, 2001, 01:38 GMT
Big boost for British league
St Helens players celebrate
St Helens came from 18-6 down to beat the Broncos
St Helens' 20-18 victory over the star-studded Brisbane Broncos in the World Club Challenge has given British rugby league a timely boost.

The Super League champions came back from 18-6 down to beat the Australian champions on Friday and restore pride in the domestic game after the disappointment of the World Cup.

"I said all along it would be a huge boost for the British game," said Saints coach Ian Millward.

"I said the club scene here is very strong and I am sure five or six other British clubs could hold their own at this level.

A special moment

"A lot of people expected us to lose but we weren't going to lie down.

"Nobody can take this away from us. We showed what we can do with the quality of the tries and the quality of the defence.

"It shows we are a special team and it's a special moment in my career.


I thought at half-time we could go up another gear
  Ian Millward

"Not many people get the chance to coach in a World Club Challenge and not many get a chance to coach against Wayne Bennett, who is an icon in the game."

Confidence

Millward said he always remained confident of success in the match, despite trailing 12-6 at half-time.

It needed two tries in three minutes from Sean Long and Chris Joynt to get the Saints back in the hunt.

"The interval came at a good time for us," he said. "We needed to have a good chat and get everything back on course.

"I thought at half-time we could go up another gear. We did that and the proof is in the pudding."

Saints picked up a 50,000 prize after becoming only the third British side to win the title.

Bennett impressed

Meanwhile, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett insisted he was not too disappointed after his side's defeat.


Of course we could have done things better
  Wayne Bennett

Bennett said he was impressed by Saints and felt no shame in coming off second best.

"I was pleased with the way we played. We put in a huge effort out there and just got pipped.

"This was our first game of the season and I thought it was a tremendous game of football.

"Of course we could have done things better but I just couldn't believe the standard out there considering no-one has played this year."

Bennett felt that Saints were always the likely winners after they fought back to level at 18-18.

"Once they got it back we didn't look like we could beat them.

"They were very impressive in the last 20 minutes. They defended extremely well and moved the ball forward well."

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See also:

26 Jan 01 |  Rugby League
St Helens crowned world's best
26 Jan 01 |  Photo Galleries
St Helens v Brisbane Broncos - in pictures
25 Jan 01 |  Rugby League
Lockyer backs North-South battle
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