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Wales have released a 19-man squad for their Student Rugby League International against Australia in Treorchy on December 5 (kick-off 2pm) and coach Wayne Williams believes that he has a team capable of pulling off a shock win writes Ian Golden.
?We?ve already proved this year that we?re the best side in the UK after beating Scotland, Ireland and England students.? comments Williams, ?And over half of the lads played in this year?s Welsh Conference side who also did the triple-crown against their counterparts. This is not a side that?s used to losing and this game will be fantastic preparation for next year?s World Cup in Brisbane.?
The match is part of a month-long tour for the Student Kangaroos as they attempt to retain the Academic Ashes that they won back from Great Britain in Australia in 2003. Treorchy's Lower Regent Street ground has been chosen to host this match for the second time, after successfully staging on the last Academic Ashes tour in 2001.
The Welsh squad contains nine players from the successful Cardiff-based, UWIC University including full Welsh international Aled James who is studying in Cardiff during the professional off-season.
James? new Sheffield Eagles team-mate, Pete Moore, is currently studying at Leeds Met University and will turn out for Wales before being the only Welsh representative in the Great Britain squad.
Moore and James? former Cardiff Demons colleagues, Mark Dando and Gareth Morgan, who both study at UWIC, are also in the squad while Newport Titans? Dan Nelmes, studying at Exeter gives the Gwent club only their second ever international player.
Nine other Welsh players will be well-known to Welsh Rugby League fans after starring for Aberavon Fighting Irish and the Welsh Conference side in 2004.
Their experience will provide a stern test for the touring side before they face the Academic Lions on December 15 in Dewsbury and December 19 at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Welsh Squad: Neil Davies (UWIC / Aberavon Fighting Irish, Capt), Gareth Morgan (UWIC / Cardiff Demons), Gavin Curry (UWIC), Dewi Scourfield (Cardiff University), Mark Dando (UWIC / Cardiff Demons), Matt Drew ? (UCE / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Geraint Davies ? (Swansea University / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Mark Burke (Swansea Institute / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Joel Keen (UWIC), Jason Massey (Swansea Institute / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Denis Pugh (Glamorgan University), Aled James (UWIC / Sheffield Eagles), Pete Moore (Leeds Met / Sheffield Eagles), Dean Scully (Swansea Institute / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Olly Green (UWIC), Phil Carleton (UWIC / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Dan Nelmes (Exeter University / Newport Titans), Dan ap Dafydd (Brunel University / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Sean O'Brien (Coleg Glan Hafron / Aberavon Fighting Irish), Matt Jackson (UWIC)
Full Australian Tour Schedule:
December 1st - England v Australia (Blackheath RUFC) December 5th - Wales v Australia (Treorchy Zebras RUFC) December 8th - Ireland v Australia (Limerick UL) December 12th - Scotland v Australia (Edinburgh Academicals RUFC) December 15th - Great Britain v Australia (Rams Stadium, Dewsbury) December 19th - Great Britain v Australia (Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington)