sitting here at Wembley, atmosphere needs lifting nowhere near 65,000 people here mmmmmm
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Posted by DugSWRLgan on 29 October 2013 - 01:21 PM
Rob Massam says it would be a dream come to true to run out for Wales at the Racecourse Ground this Sunday against USA in the Rugby League World Cup (kick-off 2pm).
Local boy Massam was named in Wales’ 24-man squad for the World Cup following an outstanding season for North Wales Crusaders. The powerful winger bagged 23 tries in 22 appearances as the Crusaders completed the Championship One and Northern Rail double.
And now the 26-year old, who lives near Moss Valley, is looking to live every boy’s dream by playing for his country.
His exploits have already caught the eye of Wales coach Iestyn Harris, who handed Massam his international debut against France in 2012 and Massam, who wasn't in the Wales side last Saturday in their opening day defeat to Italy, now hopes to be in the line-up for the crucial clash against the Tomahawks this Sunday.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve been training hard this year and I’m looking forward to the whole Rugby League World Cup 2013 experience,” Massam said.
“I had a phone call from Iestyn expecting him to let me down gently but I was really excited when he told me I had made the squad. Playing for your country is the pinnacle of every athlete’s a career so I’m thrilled to be part of the squad. I’m learning so much from both the coaches and players and I’m just happy to be going to the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“Running out in a Welsh jersey at the Racecourse would mean everything to me. I’ve grown up here in Wrexham,. I play my rugby here, all my friends are here and I live just around the corner in Gwersyllt. It’s every boy’s dream to play for their country and to do it in my home town would be extra special.
“My family have been really supportive. They were hoping that I’d make the squad after making the squad last year and they’re really proud of me. I want to make them proud now by getting more caps and playing for my country in my home town.”
In just two short years he has gone from playing amateur rugby to representing Wales on the international stage.
And Massam’s rapid rise from amateur to fully-fledged international has been made all the more remarkable by the fact that he juggles playing for the Crusaders with his day job as a personal trainer.
Fulfilling his dream of playing for Wales at the World has come at a cost, with Rob having to sacrifice his income during the duration of the tournament.
Not only this but Rob has costs that he must meet whether he is working or not – such as his rental to DW Sports Fitness in Wrexham of £550 a month.
But those costs have now been covered, thanks to the generosity of the North Wales Crusaders and their fans.
Massam said: “The club and fans have helped me out a lot. My clients have been very supportive and understanding and I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. I’m training alongside some world class players and I’m trying to learn as much as I can. Opportunities to play in World Cup’s don’t come along very often so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”
Posted by DugSWRLgan on 20 October 2013 - 10:50 AM
To all the people that say England are above the likes of playing teams like Wales,Scotland and Italy and no games should be played anywhere else than the North of England
A great day for the neutral and a great shot in the arm for the world cup
Well Done Italy what a world cup this is going to be
Posted by DugSWRLgan on 17 October 2013 - 12:38 PM
Why are people moaning and sayings its poor if there is a figure of 40,000 at the millennium stadium? 70% of tickets for the opening ceremony have gone to people outside the heartlands, celebrate the fact that 70% of those are potential new fans of OUR game and exisiting fans of rugby league that otherwise dont get the oppurtunity to watch top class rugby league in their area. It will beat the crowd at the opening games at wembley and twickenham for our previous world cups and beat the opening game at the last world cup in Australia involving Australia. i've noticed a lot of spare seats in small stadiums for previous england international games and even the grand final had plenty of spare seats all these games in the heartlands or close by. If England consistantly sold out huge stadiums in the heartlands for england international games then I would agree would be a good start for the world cup but you don't. Spread the game to new fans and give them the oppurtunity to see this great game played at the highest level. As a Welsh fan im really looking forward to seeing my national rugby league side play in such a big crowd in our capital city whether its mostly England fans or not, which if the figure of 70% outside is correct this wont in fact be the case. Thsi is the exact same attitude I encountered when I was at Wembley for the four nations with my Welsh shirt on, negative rubbish you dont belong here blah blah blah. If the game of league is so much better than any other game help spread the game to new areas support it otherwise the international game will get worse than it already is and you will never compete with other sports.
This will be the best an England Rugby League International has looked on TV for years!!
Always spare seats in tiny stadiums for other internationals.
Negative enough for you lol
Posted by DugSWRLgan on 10 October 2013 - 12:00 PM
Crusaders highly rated stars including Captain Andy Moulsdale, Stuart Reardon and Jono Smith have all signed on the dotted line for Crusaders as they head in to their 2014 campaign in the Kingstone Press Championship.
All three were influential in Crusaders’ double winning side of 2013 – who collected both the Championship One crown and inaugural Northern Rail Bowl – and were amongst the first that head coach Clive Griffiths wanted to sign up for next term.
The majority of the 2013 squad are hoped to stay for the inaugural season, supplemented by some new blood to make the squad even more competitive.
Head Coach Clive Griffiths said “These boys were fantastic for us last year and are more than capable of making the step up next year. they rightly attracted a lot of attention from other clubs, including the Super League, so to have secured their signature for next year is testament to how committed they are to the club. I’m pretty pleased with how the recruiting is going to be honest but the most important first step was to lock down the boys from last year.”
Chief Executive Jamie Thomas said on new signings “We pleased we got some new contracts signed and locked away of players coming to the Racec0urse for the first time as North Wales Crusaders players. For one reason or another we can’t start to release those names for another few days, but rest assured we’ve brought in some real quality on the way. But I think everyone will be delighted with the players who decided to stay on, which we’ll release the full list of over the next couple of days.”
Posted by DugSWRLgan on 22 May 2013 - 07:51 PM
Welsh dual-code legend Gareth Thomas has revealed his love for Rugby League, describing it as by far the toughest of the two codes.
Thomas made 100 appearances for Wales as a Union player before switching codes to sign for Crusaders.
The convert was rewarded for an assured start to his League career with a call-up to the Dragons squad, where he played an integral role in the nation’s qualification for the Four Nations.
Having helped earn Wales a place at international Rugby League’s top table, Thomas took the decision to hang up his boots, though he remains directly connected to League through his role as an official ambassador for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“Whether or not I switched at the right time, and if I should have done it later, will always be the million dollar question,” he told the RLWC2013 Ezine, when asked if he regretted not switching sooner.
“When I turned to League I didn’t realise how much of an amazing game it is, and how much fun it is to play.
“But when I look back on my career I don’t want to be thinking about what I might have done with hindsight. I’ve got some brilliant memories from representing my country in League and Union”
“I made some great friends and achieved some great things. We went to France and went to the Four Nations the year after.
“I can look back on my career and say that there are things I wish I’d done and things I wish I hadn’t done, but ultimately I speak today as a proud Welshman who achieved his sporting goals.”
Thomas was in good company following his decision to play Rugby League, training alongside fellow countryman Gil Dudson, Lloyd White and Elliot Kear, plus a host of other young Welsh stars, at Crusaders.
But the star of Big Brother and Dancing On Ice admits the first few weeks were tough.
“I got absolutely grilled at my first training session with Crusaders,” he said.
“I got the phonecall from Iestyn telling me to come down for about 2.00pm, and I thought ‘that’s OK, I’ve watched the sport before and I know I can do it’, so I went to the gym before, and rocked up ready for training.
“I have to say I have never been so tired in my entire life. I knew that it was a case of proving myself again and that was the determination I had.
“But in no way, shape or form did I realise it would be that tough. From that day forward I began to understand just how tough the game is.
“You have to be mentally tough, and capable of putting your body on the line for the guy standing next to you.”
Having played at the highest level in League and Union, Thomas is well-qualified to compare the two codes.
And the Bridgend-born icon says there’s no competition when it comes to intensity and toughness.
“Without a doubt Rugby League was the most physically demanding sport, and that’s statistically speaking, without the need for argument.
“I started off as a winger and also played centre, and in a top Rugby Union game, like a Heineken Cup or World Cup, I’d make ten carries a game if I was lucky and six or seven tackles.
“In your average Rugby League game you could pretty much triple every action, so statistically it has to be much more physically demanding.
“When I played a game of Rugby League I’d look at the clock and think ‘where have those minutes gone?’ because you just don’t have time to check anything,” he continued.
“So in terms of action I’d take Rugby League over Union any day of the week. If I have more action I have more input into the game.
“I love both games, but, more than anything, Union is ruled by the rules and League is ruled by the game. In League you play the game, in Union you play the rules.”
Wales face Italy at the Millennium Stadium on October 26, USA at the Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium on November 3 and Cook Islands at The Gnoll on November 10.
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