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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 May, 2005, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Sculthorpe has mark of a leader
By Phil Gordos

Paul Sculthorpe
Date of birth: 22 September, 1977
GB caps: 26
GB debut: Against Papua New Guinea in 1996
Paul Sculthorpe has been the face of rugby league for a couple of seasons now.

It was only a matter of time before he was given the ultimate responsibility of captaining his country.

Like his predecessor Andy Farrell, Sculthorpe is a player who commands respect.

Man of Steel twice, the 27-year-old loose forward or stand-off is one of the few players from these shores who could force his way into the all-conquering Australian team.

He has also been a mainstay of the St Helens side that has won every trophy on offer in this country.

And he may not yet have reached his peak.

According to club boss Ian Millward, Sculthorpe, whom he likens to Australian legend Laurie Daley, can get even better.

"I think his best years are in front of him," said Millward after Sculthorpe had scored his 1,000th point for the Saints in February.

Filling the boots of Farrell, who surprised the world of rugby league by deciding to switch codes earlier this season, is not an easy task.

Not for nothing was the Wigan legend known as Captain Fantastic.

Yet Sculthorpe, vice-captain to Farrell for last year's Gillette Tri-Nations Series, is an inspirational figure in his own right.

His performances for both club and country have won him many admirers, notably from Down Under.

Andy would be a hard act to follow but it's something I'm confident of being up to
Paul Sculthorpe

And numerous clubs have shown interest in signing the former Warrington player, who cost Saints a world-record fee for a forward of 370,000 in 1997.

More importantly, Sculthorpe has faith in his own ability, a prerequisite for the job of leading the Lions.

Asked if he fancied succeeding Farrell, he told BBC Sport: "Andy would be a hard act to follow but it's something I'm confident of being up to."

Sculthorpe certainly has all the characteristics of a born leader.

He is tough but fair, talented but not flashy. What's more, his deeds on the pitch inspire those around him.

In short, the Great Britain captaincy will be safe in his hands.

Interview: Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe

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03 May 05 |  Rugby League
Sculthorpe wants Lions captaincy
18 Feb 05 |  International
Sculthorpe best 'is yet to come'
27 Feb 05 |  St Helens
Sculthorpe is new Saints skipper
20 Jan 04 |  St Helens

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