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Wales have named a 28-man squad for this year?s Rugby League European Nations Cup tournament that kicks off in Bridgend this Sunday when Scotland are visitors at the Brewery Field (kick-off 3pm) writes Ian Golden.
The squad, which includes 12 players with Super League experience, will be captained by Lee Briers for the first time. The Warrington Wolves captain makes a welcome comeback to Wales as he has missed the last two European Nations Cup tournaments due to injury. He won the last of his ten Welsh caps against New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium in 2002.
Like last year, Mark Lennon, who plays for Manly Sea-Eagles in the Australian NRL, is flying over from Sydney to join the squad. Adam Hughes and Gary Hulse?s appearances will be subject to fitness tests while Hefin O?Hare, recently signed by Glasgow RU, will only be available for the Ireland match. Great Britain under-18 international, 17-year old Lee Williams from Aberavon Fighting Irish, could be Wales? youngest ever senior international should he get an appearance.
Williams is one of nine Welsh-based players named in the squad. A number of these are dual code players who will be familiar to Welsh Rugby Union fans. Pontypridd RFC?s Nathan Strong, who also plays for Bridgend Blue Bulls, has been named but is waiting final clearance from his union club. Another Blue Bulls player, Maesteg RFC?s Karl Hocking, is definitely in the squad as are Andy Llewellyn of Neath and Neil Davies of Narberth, both of whom play for Aberavon Fighting Irish in the summer.
Admission to the match on Sunday 16 October costs only ?5 for adults and ?1 for children accompanied by an adult. For advance tickets, please contact Celtic Crusaders RLC on 01656 651515 or email [email protected] More information on the European Nations Cup can be found at http://wales.rleague.com/europeancup/.
Wales: Lee Briers (Warrington Wolves, Captain), Damien Gibson (Halifax), Anthony Blackwood (Halifax), Nick Royle (Rochdale Hornets), Mark Lennon (Manly Sea-Eagles, Australia), Bryn Powell (Featherstone Rovers), Aled James (Sheffield Eagles), Byron Smith (Castleford Tigers), Gareth Dean (Carcassonne), David Mills (Widnes Vikings), Gareth Price (Rochdale Hornets), Ian Watson (Swinton Lions), Jordan James (Castleford Tigers), Phil Joseph (Swinton Lions), Chris Morley (Halifax), Hefin O?Hare (Glasgow RU), Adam Hughes (Widnes Vikings), Gary Hulse (Widnes Vikings), Keith Mason (St Helens), Jon Breakingbury (Valley Cougars), Damien Hudd (Torfaen Tigers), Nathan Strong (Bridgend Blue Bulls / Pontypridd RU), Karl Hocking (Bridgend Blue Bulls / Maesteg RU), Andy Llewellyn (Aberavon Fighting Irish / Neath RU), Neil Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish / Narberth RU), Scott O?Kelly (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Lee Williams (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Mark Burke (Aberavon Fighting Irish).