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The old saying of ?your damned if you do, and your damned if you don?t? must be running through the heads of the Rugby Football League at the moment, after the Welsh Dragons were thumped by the Australian Kangaroos. Since the Dragon?s courage performance in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup, there has been a growing call by the fans and the media for Wales to have the chance to play the best, and be given regular competition.
Wales has shown in all their matches that they have a never say die attitude, and with players like Kerion Cunningham and Lee Briers, in their line up, they have a few stars as well. A re-match against the Kangaroos after the very well documented World Cup quarter final in Castleford was a very tasty fixture.
So the RFL, thinking in their wisdom it was time to give Wales a bit of a boost scheduled in a match between the Dragons and Kangaroos at Bridgend.
Not a bad idea at the time was it? In fact I clearly remember a lot of people being excited by the fixture including myself. Unfortunately just as the RFL hasn?t developed the ability to read into the future, nor have most of us and we didn?t see the terrible injury situation the Welsh would face.
Briers, Cunningham, Carvell, Morgan and Highton, were just some of the key performers who were out for the match, meaning that the side which took the field was made up of semi-professionals and amateurs.
Wales? biggest problem was exposed and it wasn?t pride, or talent, it is simply lack of depth.
A full strength Dragons side could on its day knock off the Australians, especially the Kangaroo side running around at the moment, but take away a few of the key players, and it quickly turns into a mission impossible.
The question of ?Why was this match played?? should not be the one people should be asking, rather what can we do to change this problem? Well on that side, a lot of work is being done on the grass root level and more and more people in the Valleys are taking up league?this will take time, and perhaps during that time, the Welsh should concentrate of beating England or France, than taking on Australia.