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Wales keen for more games
Wales' assistant coach Kevin Ellis believes that Wales should have more matches in 2007 to help celebrate the centenary of rugby league in the principality. Wales are expected to field Super League stars Iestyn Harris and Lee Briers when they face Scotland at the Brewery Field this Sunday in their first match of the 2008 World Cup qualifying campaign (kick-off 3pm), but this is the only game that Wales will play this year. In 2007, they also currently only have one match planned - the return leg against Scotland - but Ellis believes more international matches should be played. "For a start, we need to play against New Zealand next year," said Ellis. "When we beat them 9-8 on New Years Day 1908 in Aberdare, it was the first rugby league international ever in the world. When they tour next autumn, we should face them down here in Wales to celebrate. That would be icing on the cake in a potentially great centenary year for Welsh Rugby League should we qualify for the World Cup." Wales' best ever year of rugby league was in 1995, where Ellis along with players like Allan Bateman, Keiron Cunningham, Jonathan Davies, John Devereux, Scott Gibbs, Mark Jones, Paul Moriarty, Rowland Philips, Scott Quinnell, Anthony Sullivan, Dai Young, a youthful Iestyn Harris and current Wales coach Martin Hall won the European Championship, reached the semi-finals of the World Cup and won BBC Wales' Team of the Year award. Including the two-match tour of the USA, Wales played seven games that year. "We need more games on a regular basis like we did 11 years ago," said Ellis. "It's the only way we can gel as a team. England are having four games this month in this new Federation Shield. We need something like that to grow as a side to help us qualify and then prepare for the World Cup Finals in Australia in 2008."