JOE Keyes believes his game will kick on for the Bulls next season following his World Cup experience.

The Ireland international will miss at least six weeks of pre-season with the knee injury he suffered against Wales on Sunday.

He was forced out of the action after just 20 minutes and returned to Tong this week with a protective brace on his right leg.

But Keyes insists his time on the international scene was a huge benefit.

The half-back said: “It wasn’t ideal getting injured but I had a great time and learned a lot.

“It was brilliant going to places like Papua New Guinea. I might not get the chance to do stuff like that again so to experience it was amazing.

“Training and learning off some of the people that you don’t get to play with every week was a great experience. There were a lot of big names in that team and it was great to bounce off some of the boys.”

Ireland won two of their three games but still did not qualify for this weekend’s quarter-finals. Yet Samoa went through to face Australia today with only one draw.

“I don’t know how you can win two and yet another doesn’t even win one and goes through,” added Keyes.

“I think that’s something that needs to be looked at. It’s a strange system.

“But when we went over no one really expected us to achieve much.

“So, to win so convincingly twice and then go so close against Papua New Guinea had a lot of people talking about us.”

Keyes popped in to the Bulls training base on the same day he flew back to England. He is eager to get started again once he gets the all-clear after Christmas.

“It’s great to see everyone and I’m really looking forward to getting back into it.

“It’s a great squad and there are a few familiar faces like Matty Garside and Elliot Minchella, who I’ve played with before. It’s good to have those boys on board.

“We’re going to try and build and get back to where we should be.”

Bulls’ Amy Hardcastle scored the pick of the seven tries with a 90-metre run as England’s women opened their World Cup campaign with a 36-8 win over PNG Orchids in Sydney. The side included eight Bradford players.

England's next group game is against hosts Australia on Sunday.