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Paul Wood's injury shines a global spotlight on Rugby League
PAUL Wood’s already infamous Grand Final injury has provided global recognition of the like that British rugby league has rarely enjoyed before.
And the 31-year-old prop reckons the game’s chiefs should capitalise on his second loss of Saturday night – the testicle that surgeons removed after the rupture suffered during the Grand Final defeat to Leeds.
Wood has been receiving global fame after news emerged that he had played 19 minutes of Wolves’ Old Trafford title decider with the ruptured testicle.
He said on Wednesday: “It has been a mental couple of days for me. I have been made famous for five minutes.
“People from America have been getting in touch via Twitter, and at 3.45am UK time I did an interview for a radio show in New York with Dan Patrick.
“It probably is the most global recognition and notoriety that British rugby league has received in ages, in a weird way.
“This has got more coverage than the Grand Final and it is more than I have seen for a number of years.”
Only last month the RFL launched a highly praised marketing campaign promoting ‘The Rugby League of the Extraordinary’, showcasing the almost superhuman efforts of Super League players to a whole new audience.
Saturday night’s 19 minutes are certainly timely.
“This publicity doesn’t mean anything unless we build on it,” said the father-of-two from Wigan.
“It is nice to get the recognition, but since rugby league has not got this kind of exposure for such a long time means they have to make the most of it.
“The headlines read the ‘toughest sportsmen in the world’, well the RFL have to pounce on that and utilise this exposure as much as possible.”
Yet what makes the story all the more telling is the indifference to which Wood has treated those 19 minutes, brushing away claims that he is ‘the bravest sportsman in Britain’ as ‘over exaggerated’.
He said: “All I have done is play a game of rugby and done my job. There is nothing special about what I did.”