TWELVE months after starting a new chapter in his career, Jon Clarke will be in the England Rugby dressing room on Saturday as the national team bids to win the World Cup.

After 14 years with Warrington Wolves as a player and conditioning chief – broken by a four-season spell with Widnes Vikings – 40-year-old Clark is now on the brink of major global sporting success as part of Eddie Jones’ backroom team in Japan.

The Grappenhall man may have been fairly low profile during one of the biggest tournaments on the planet, but looking after the strength and conditioning of the players over the past year has played a huge part in England being on the cusp of world champions status for only the second time.

Everything he did with The Wire as a hooker, captain and coach between 2001 and 2018 has contributed to the knowledge Clarke is now calling on to assist in making sure England are at the peak of their powers to face South Africa in Yokohama City.

Warrington Guardian:

Jon Clarke, right, with Josh Charnley during Warrington Wolves training last year. Picture: Mike Boden

Clarke – a two-times Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ Shield winner in 263 senior appearances with The Wire – knows as well as anybody that the mighty semi-final win against the All Blacks will count for little if England are not in the best possible condition to complete the job against the Springboks.

Warrington Guardian:

Jon Clarke, centre, celebrating with Wire teammates Ben Westwood and Micky Higham after winning the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2010. Picture: Mike Boden

Warrington Guardian:

Jon Clarke on the attack for Warrington Wolves against Huddersfield Giants in 2009. Picture: Mike Boden

After leaving his similar role with Wolves 12 months ago, Clarke said: “The rugby union world cup is probably one of the biggest global events knocking around, and particularly in Japan where they are absolutely crazy for rugby union.

“To be a part of that and to have the opportunity to go and work in that was a huge selling point for me taking the job.”

The move has certainly paid off.