The Wales Rugby League U19 side have been preparing well for their one-off test match against Ireland this Friday at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli (kick-off 7pm) writes Ian Golden.
It’s the first time in five years that Wales and Ireland have met at this level, the last occasion being in Wrexham in 2014 where Wales ran out 86-12 winners in a game played as a curtain raiser before a senior European Championship fixture between the two nations.
Three of the players from that match – Morgan Knowles, Curtis Davies and Connor Davies – have since become full internationals.
Wales Under 19s head coach Anthony Walker, who guided Wales to bronze in last year’s European U19 Championships, will select from a 20-man squad.
He said: “After a really successful first camp, the boys bought into the philosophy that is Wales Rugby League. They trained hard and were eager to learn how we wanted to play.
“This encounter against Ireland will be a great game for us to see how we do against another country. We will be looking at different combinations throughout the squad and hopefully the match will set us up nicely for the rest of the year.”
He concluded: “It will be the first time that some lads have played for Wales and we want it to be as memorable as possible. We also have a relatively young squad with the majority of the players being available next year for European Championships.”
Admission is £5 for adults (£1 U16s) whilst the Wales Rugby League charity magazine will be available to buy at the match.
WALES (from): Jacob Lee, Adam Young (both Aber Valley Wolves), Brandon Aviet, Cadeyrn Hassall, Josh Palmer (all Cardiff Blue Dragons), Ewan Badham (City of Hull Academy), William Lynch (Leigh Miners Rangers), Cai Ellis, James McGurk (both Newcastle Thunder), Iwan Marsh, Finlay Swift (both North Wales Crusaders A), Luis Roberts (Salford Red Devils), James Smith (Torfaen Tigers), Lewis Hall (Warrington Wolves), Mathew Jones, Kieran Lewis, Matthew Morgan, Ieuan Roberts, George Sheppard, Nye Walker (all West Wales Raiders).
IRELAND (from): Sam Cullen, Ryan Curran, Jack Johnson, Jack Mallon, Fiach Millward, Sean O’Sullivan, Ed Swayne (all Barrowcudas), Ryan Higgins (Barrow Island), Andrew Smyth (Belfast Stags), Marc Keating (Dublin City Exiles), James Reynolds (Galway Tribesmen), Aidan McGowan (Huddersfield Giants), Shalun Carey, Eoin Creaby, Nathan Kiernan, Ronan Michael, James Mulvany, Kevin Varga (all Longhorns).