Kopczak announces international retirement

Wales captain Craig Kopczak has retired from international Rugby League.

The 31-year-old represented the country for over 10 years, making his debut in October 2007 when they defeated Papua New Guinea.

He captained Wales in two World Cups, taking the captaincy in 2012 and leading the side 13 times, joint second in the country’s history.

The Salford forward captained the side in their 2015 European Championships success and also feature in the 2011 Four Nations.

He said: “Unfortunately the time has come where I am to retire from international Rugby League and concentrate on my club rugby with Salford, allowing the new generation of Wales youngsters to take the mantle into the 2021 World Cup.

“I would like to personally thank all the coaches and players who I have worked with over the years and we will always remain friends. Mostly I’d like to thank my family who have supported me when Wales and international Rugby League has taken my downtime away at the end of every Super League season. This is never easy but never have they complained.

“I will always hold Wales Rugby League in my heart and hopefully have an involvement in the future in some capacity.”

Wales head coach John Kear added: “Craig’s been a great servant to Wales Rugby League. He’d lead Wales into two World Cups, won the European Championship as captain and spearheaded World Cup qualification in 2016.

“His achievements are well documented, his contribution to the cause can’t be faulted. We had a disappointing World Cup campaign last time around, which I’m sure isn’t how he wanted to go out, but he’s put in lots of hard work in over the numerous years.”