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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Paul 's conversion pays dividends
Henry Paul
Henry Paul has played just 80 minutes for Gloucester
The journey Henry Paul has made from Bradford to Gloucester was not an obvious one, but it has proved his fastest route to the top of international rugby union.

That he was going to leave the Bulls at the end of his contract and the Super League season was on the cards for some time.

But his promotion to the England squad after just 80 minutes of Union has come as more of a surprise.

In the summer, he was linked with several rugby league clubs in Australia, and he also considered a move to Super 12 side Waikato Chiefs, allied to the prospect of challenging for selection by the All Blacks.
Robinson's example is one Paul wants to follow
Robinson's example is one Paul wants to follow

Paul decided that the England team represented his most likely route to a World Cup Final in the 15-man code - and Clive Woodward has proved him correct so far.

Paul qualifies because he never played union in New Zealand, and has an English grandparent.

He had spoken to Woodward and his predecessor as England coach, Jack Rowell, about the possibility of representing his adopted country.

But Paul, who collected his 23rd New Zealand rugby league cap in July, initially played down his prospects of an international call-up.

"The deal I have signed is with Gloucester and that's where I have got to prove myself first off," he said, upon signing for the Cherry and Whites.

Born in Tokoroa, New Zealand, on 10 February 1974, Paul arrived in England in 1993, when he captained the Junior Kiwis on their tour of Britain and France.

He stayed on to play for Wakefield Trinity, making 19 appearances and scoring 111 points in the process.

He then joined Wigan in 1994 and made his international debut for New Zealand at the age of 21 in 1995, the year Wigan won the Challenge Cup, Premiership and Regal Trophy.

His career at Central Park lasted for four years and 147 appearances, during which he scored 550 points.

In September 1998, at the end of his contract, he moved to Bradford to team up with younger brother Robbie.

In April 2000 he became the first player to hold both the Harry Sunderland and Lance Todd Trophies after being named man of the match in the Bulls' first Challenge Cup final triumph for 51 years.

Different proposition

Last season he broke the club scoring records with 404 points and 179 goals in a season.

While New Zealand lost to Australia in the World Cup Final at Old Trafford last November, Paul had little left to achieve in the 13-man game.

Rugby union, however, represents an altogether different proposition.

Paul flirted with the code in 1996, playing alongside Jason Robinson in a short-lived experiment with Bath.

And Robinson's success since switching codes last autumn can only encourage Paul to believe that he can make a significant impact an international level.

"Jason Robinson is a freak of nature, a special talent," Paul said.

"His success was another drawing point and I would like to make the same sort of impact."

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