Super League can learn from rugby union Wakefield Trinity coach Mark Applegarth says after Harlequins visit

Wakefield Trinity coach Mark Applegarth reckons the 13-a-side game can learn from its rival code, following an exchange with the Harlequins rugby union club.
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The Premiership outfit sent six players to observe Trinity training this week, after Wakefield’s staff spent some time with them in London last year.

Applegarth - whose side are away to Wigan Warriors in Betfred Super League on Friday - also visited Sale Sharks during the off-season and reckons it’s important to pick up ideas from other sports.

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“It was really enjoyable,” Applegarth said of Quins’ visit. “The idea is if there’s anything that crosses over or anything we think could add value to our set up, we could start looking at implementing them.

Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth. Picture by Steve Riding.Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth. Picture by Steve Riding.
Wakefield coach Mark Applegarth. Picture by Steve Riding.

“I’ve always been a forward thinker and I think the more we can do that, the better we’re all going to be.

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“It’s important to keep your own identity, but also to look at other successful environments and see if there’s any crossover that could help you.”

Applegarth believes rugby league has things to learn from union, particularly off the field. He admitted: “I’ve been really impressed, at every union set up I’ve been to, with how it’s run.

Fans of Harlequins whose club have been swapping ideas with Wakefield Trinity. Picture by Dave Winter/SWpix.com.Fans of Harlequins whose club have been swapping ideas with Wakefield Trinity. Picture by Dave Winter/SWpix.com.
Fans of Harlequins whose club have been swapping ideas with Wakefield Trinity. Picture by Dave Winter/SWpix.com.
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“There’s a lot rugby league needs to improve on. I don’t think the reserves is fully implemented how it should be, we have got a lot to improve there and union is probably showing us a way of doing it.”

A host of high-profile league men have crossed codes to union in recent years, including Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield, now an assistant-coach with England and Featherstone Rovers’ boss Sean Long who had a spell on the boackroom staff at Harlequins.

Applegarth added: “On the field, the two games are very different, but there is some crossover.

“There is a lot of league influence in union and they were quizzing us on a few things there - for example ‘what’s the consequence of running this shape in a league defence compared to a union one’?

“We bounced ideas and they probably triggered a few ideas in our heads and got juices flowing and hopefully we did the same for them.”