Opening game of the World Cup - Wales vs Italy @ Millenium Stadium
Wales - a team of home grown players committed to their country.
Italy - a team of Aussies (with Italian heritage and not good enough to play for Oz) committed to "their" country for a few weeks.
If Wales played a team of Italians and won their support at the WC would increase. Wales will play a bunch of Aussies, will probably lose and could possibility lose an opportunity to further develop RL in Wales.
1. Wales have had many many players who have been English or Australian but with some Welsh ancestry, Yestyn Harris, Anthony Sullivan, Lennon, Lee Briers and many others so we are being a little hypocritical here. I think the Italians will include some Italian based players. The Scots are exactly the same.
2. You are correct that Wales will probably have a hard time qualifying against that likely Italian team. It's a question of what you want. Do you want Wales to thrash a weak domestic based Italian lineup or do you want a competitive game against the Italians with their Aussie imports before a large crowd at the Welsh national stadium.
I think we need as many competitive games as possible. To do this at this stage of their development the Italians need heritage players. Even England are using them.
3. This Italian is not the second coming of the Kangaroos. As you say they are not good enough to be Kangaroos. It is up to the Welsh to raise their game to be able to beat them. After all they are at home with the crowd behind them.
Nothing is worse than huge blow out scores. For instance I think Ireland v Australia will be a cricket score. What good does that do for the game in Ireland?
I think the big three plus Italy,France, Wales, PNG, Fiji and maybe the other pacific nations will be competitive, leaving only Scotland, Ireland, USA as complete also rans. The Irish could also drastically improve if they use heritage Australian or English players and I am betting they will.
The Italian league is up and running and if it continues to progress will eventually produce domestic players. For now a good performance from the Italian team with heritage Australians will do more for the game in Italy than some 80 to 10 blowout because their domestic players are not yet up to scratch.