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Wales at RLWC21 - Overview


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Afternoon all, as one of a handful of Wales fans on these boards and with having an in-depth knowledge of Wales’ player pool I thought I’d give a breakdown on our chances, hopes and depth ahead of the World Cup year. 
 

NRL

Tyson Frizell - big name, top-drawer player. His inclusion comes down to him not being selected by Australia. He’s openly admitted he’d choose Wales over Tonga.

Bradman Best - see above. This kid is only going to get better and I for one hope that he’s still some years off Australia selection so that we can see a bit of him in red. P.S I don’t think highly of nation-hopping but at times you accept the inevitable.

Caleb Aekins - currently without a club after being released by Canberra. We see him in reserve grade? Maybe a move to Super League? Or maybe off to union in NZ? He’s no star and many questioned his NRL value but it’s slim pickings on players from the world’s best competition. 
 

Super League

Regan Grace - Wales’ number of SL players has been dipping over the last decade but Grace is the homegrown star. His inclusion is so important both on and off the field. Could it be his RL farewell? Or will he be off the NRL in 2023? 
 

Rhys Williams - mr dependable, has never let Wales down and I’d still back him to do a job for us in the World Cup despite him not getting any younger. Can still score for fun. 
 

Morgan Knowles - seems very much English right now. Can’t see him switching back.

Lewis Dodd - eligible and for now available. He’s an incredible prospect and Wales could possibly benefit for a year or two before he’s England ready (see Bradman Best). He’d be the perfect halves partner to Josh Ralph.

Gil Dudson - over the past couple of years at Catalans and Salford he’s really matured into an excellent SL prop. He’s rarely had chance to show his maturity at international level (COVID/lack of availability) but RLWC21 could really be his big stage. Definitely one of Wales’ form players

Chester Butler - get fit, stay fit and get game time on loan somewhere. Wales need somebody with his strength and energy on the edge - especially if any of the above names are unavailable.

Lloyd White - opted for Jamaica over Wales ahead of the World Cup. Didn’t play against Scotland for the Reggae Warriors and with 12 months of thinking time, will he change his mind? Had a great year for Toulouse. 

NRL - Reserves, juniors etc (in 10 words or so each)

Josh Ralph - newborn baby but loves representing Wales. 7 jersey should be his. 

Bailey Antrobus - U21 backrower at Dragons, keen to play for Wales.

Jayden Millard - ex-Cronulla reserve half now in lower grade. Last season injured.

Daniel Brown - Trained with Penrith last year. Rangy three-quarter, good potential.

Trent Griffiths - U21 prop at Rabbitohs. Young, inexperienced. World Cup too soon?

Luca Ace-Nasteski - U19 at Rabbitohs. Very tall centre. Too young and untested. 

Championship (in 10 words or so each)

Elliot Kear - now a fireman but signed on at Bradford last year. Bags of experience and still capable.

Rhys Evans - experienced, dependable. Should be a shoe in for centre spot if fit.

Luis Roberts - bags of potential, great year last year. Big season ahead for the winger.

Ben Evans - just like his twin brother. Will do a job and do so with pride. 

Dan Fleming - some question his application of size but he’s an experienced option at prop or loose.

Ant Walker - Dudson aside, Walker was Wales’ best prop last year. Will thrive at World Cup.

Connor Holliday - unsure if resigned at ‘Haven? Outside chance, very versatile.

Will Evans - ex-Queensland cup youngster signed at Whitehaven. Wales 9s rep. Skilful three quarter.

Will Blakemore - London middle forward, young and inexperienced. Will need game time at part-time London.

Curtis & Connor Davies - released by Halifax. Now in France with Villeneuve. Need to be back in championship.

Matty Fozard - Wales’ best option at 9 if Lloyd White picks Jamaica. Important he stays fit. 

Others

Mike Butt - lightning quick, fantastic finisher and I’m surprised Butt hasn’t hung around at championship level. Should be starting for Wales.

Rhodri Lloyd - a captain, a leader, a valleys boy. League One tag doesn’t matter he should be in for leadership alone.

Cobi Green - yet to re-sign at Swinton. Still has time on his side and bags of potential to be a decent half back.

Rhys Davies - needs a big year at Rochdale. Ex-Hull KR reserve, Dewsbury. Future international regular. 

Elliot Jenkins - starred against Scotland in 2018. Flattered to deceive since. Needs to kick on.

Ben Morris - a Crusaders regular and a physical unit on their left edge. Good-to medium chance of inclusion.

Gavin Bennion - always get told he looks the part but doesn’t apply it. We’ll see.

Sam Bowring - good year at Cov, certainly forced his way into contention with performances.

Reece Chapman-Smith - appeared at Hunslet at back end of year. Will likely be no more than 4th choice. 
 

West Wales Raiders 

Many young, Welsh players at the club. Do they warrant a World Cup spot? Not really. Marcus Webb has the most talent and potential but has suffered from work-commitments. Ewan and Ieuan Badham still have time to develop as both are massive units. 

Other eligible options 

Rob Massam - Crusaders (L1)

Paddy Jones - Swinton (L1)

Dalton Grant - Skolars (L1)

Sion Jones - released by Halifax (Championship), supposedly back to RU. 

Liam Buffet - Castleford (U19s)

Jamarie Chatham - Hull FC (U19s)

Ben Mayhew - Leeds (U19s)

Kyle Huish - Wigan (U19s)

Lewis Pinder - Wigan (U19s)

Tom Milburn - Wakefield (U19s)

Jacob Lee/Ieuan Roberts/Joe Coope-Franklin - Salford (reserves)

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I’m sure there are many others eligible and some I’ve missed but hopefully this gives you a good overview of what to expect from Wales next season and into the future

Edited by welshmagpie
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2 hours ago, Dan Taye-Sinferno said:

Morgan Evans at WWR worthy of a mention - has played for Wales before - big lad, decent go forward, hard worker equally at home front row or back row.

You’re not wrong. I do remember someone telling me that Morgan wasn’t playing next year but this person’s word isn’t by any means gospel truth. We’ll see. 

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On 08/11/2021 at 16:46, Dan Taye-Sinferno said:

Morgan Evans at WWR worthy of a mention - has played for Wales before - big lad, decent go forward, hard worker equally at home front row or back row.

Yeah good player, played for Cov Bears too in his time. Was very good for the Raiders last season 

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Great post.

Interesting RLE interview with Mike Nicholas last week.

He said ‘I don’t blame the boys, but Ben Flower is someone whose lack of contribution disappointed me. Gil Dudson is another who has rarely been available and it’s disrespectful’

No shock with Flower, less said about him the better but that doesn’t paint a great picture of Dudson.

Still due to scarcity of top level Welsh talent, I guess they’ll select him regardless. 
 

it should be a real honour to represent your country but given the lack of importance placed on internationals in the game, it’s no wonder players are unavailable through their own or their clubs choice.

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Great summary Welshmagpie.

From the Crusaders perspective I can see Ben Morris getting a chance - but Rob Massam, although a great winger, picks and chooses when hes available for selection for Wales.

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32 minutes ago, gogledd said:

Great summary Welshmagpie.

From the Crusaders perspective I can see Ben Morris getting a chance - but Rob Massam, although a great winger, picks and chooses when hes available for selection for Wales.

Thank you, Gogledd. I was reliably told last year that Rob’s essentially retired from international duty. Fantastic winger but I feel his time in red has come and gone.

Morris looked excellent for Crusaders last year, has to have an eye on getting back in the championship soon. 

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On 10/11/2021 at 13:27, DoubleD said:

Is Olly Olds still playing? 

Retired a year or so back due to injuries. Was an excellent half back on his day but was ruined by injuries sadly. Currently doing triathlons in Brisbane I believe.

His brother, James, is still playing and available however.

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I feel out of the 3 home nations Wales are bubbling nicely, decent crop of lads with the 2 welsh sides bringing a few through 

With the right guidance they could become a force in years to come. Hopefully France are on the right path with Wales,  England will at last have some kind of decent challenge closer to home, 

I just hope they get plenty of games in the years to come to grow 

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15 hours ago, 2blackrooks said:

I feel out of the 3 home nations Wales are bubbling nicely, decent crop of lads with the 2 welsh sides bringing a few through 

With the right guidance they could become a force in years to come. Hopefully France are on the right path with Wales,  England will at last have some kind of decent challenge closer to home, 

I just hope they get plenty of games in the years to come to grow 

Having spoken to the top men at Wales RL regularly over the last couple of years they’re placing huge emphasis on the college based academy and the link up with Salford. 
 

The aim is to have 15+ Welsh born players in Super League by the time of the 2029 World Cup wherever that may be. 

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