Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
3 hours ago
Wales have included four Super League and six Celtic Crusaders players in their initial 21-man squad for the Rugby League World Cup qualifier against Scotland at the Brewery Field on Sunday 29th October.
The squad also includes Mark Lennon who plays for Manly Sea Eagles in Australia?s NRL and Phil Joseph from Hull Kingston Rovers who will be playing in Super League next season after helping his side win the National League One Grand Final on October 8th.
But the big news for Wales is, as announced two weeks ago, Iestyn Harris will play for his country in rugby league for the first time in almost six years when he runs out at the Brewery Field in just under two weeks time.
The Bradford Bulls stand-off last played for Wales in the World Cup semi-final match against Australia in Huddersfield on November 19th 2000. He made his Welsh international debut against Australia on October 30th 1994 and is currently the country?s record points scorer for with 145 in his 17 games.
Since then, he has had a spell in union with Cardiff Blues and Wales and on his return to league, has been unable to play for Wales due to his involvement with Great Britain.
Warrington?s Lee Briers will captain the side once again following his best season ever for Wolves where he scored nine tries and 105 goals leading them to the second round of the play-offs, and despite being in Australia with the Great Britain Tri-Nations squad. In a special arrangement with the Lions, Briers will fly back to Wales on October 21st before returning down under the day after the match.
There is no place in the squad for Crusaders? Paul Morgan meaning that he has now played his last game of rugby league following his retirement announcement last week, but there is a surprise inclusion for Richard Johnson who hasn?t played since breaking his arm in the Crusaders? win over Barrow on July 16th.
Three potential debutants have been named ? Geraint Davies and Hywel Davies from Celtic Crusaders and Widnes Vikings? Gary Hulse. Hulse will be extra determined to get into the 17-man matchday squad as, after being selected for Wales last year, missed out on his international debut due to injury.
The match is the first in a two-legged encounter for Wales for the winners qualifying for the 13th Rugby League World Cup Finals in Australia in October 2008.
Wales Squad 2006
Anthony Blackwood - Halifax RLFC
Lee Briers - Warrington Wolves (capt)
Geraint Davies - Celtic Crusaders
Hywel Davies - Celtic Crusaders
Gareth Dean - Celtic Crusaders
Damien Gibson - Halifax RLFC
Iestyn Harris - Bradford Bulls
Paul Highton - Salford City Reds
Adam Hughes - Widnes Vikings
Gary Hulse - Widnes Vikings
Aled James - Celtic Crusaders
Jordan James - Widnes Vikings
Richard Johnson - Celtic Crusaders
Phil Joseph - Hull Kingston Rovers
Mark Lennon - Manly Sea Eagles
David Mills - Harlequins RL
Chris Morley - Swinton Lions
Bryn Powell - Dewsbury Rams
Gareth Price - Celtic Crusaders
Robert Roberts - Leigh Centurions
Ian Watson - Widnes Vikings
Team Manager - John Devereux
Head Coach - Martin Hall
Assistant Coach - Anthony Farrell
Assistant Coach - Kevin Ellis
Fitness/Skills - Allan Bateman
Physiotherapist - Ben Searle
Kit Man - Tony James