Students head into World Cup action!

ALL four home nations are represented in the 2017 Student World Cup, which is taking place in Sydney from the end of this week.

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, together with Australia and New Zealand, launch their assault on the competition on Friday (7 July), with all six seeking to gravitate through to the final, on Sunday 16 July at the Pepper Stadium, Penrith.

The sides have been split into two groups, with Ireland sharing Group A with Australia and New Zealand; England, Scotland and Wales comprise Group B. Teams will play the other two sides in their own group, together with one similarly ranked team in the other group. The leading side in each group will play the second-placed team in the other section at the semi-finals stage on Friday 14 July, with the bottom countries meeting on the same day to avoid the wooden spoon.

Wales have announced a 26-man travelling squad, which will be cut back to 24 players in arrival. The four Leeds Beckett selections of Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Marcus Webb and Sion Jones have all played for South Wales Scorpions/Ironmen, with Webb and Jones having moved on to Hunslet and Halifax respectively. Cobi Green celebrated his debut for the Ironmen late last month, Dafydd Hellard and Rhys Davies have previously played for South Wales, and Paul Emanuelli is the club’s record points scorer. Blake Turner, meanwhile, is a North Wales Crusaders mainstay.

Head coach Latham Tawhai’s hopefuls are: Dewi Billingham, Paul Emanuelli, Cobi Green, Macauley Harris, Archie Snook (all Coleg y Cymoedd), Huw Parks (Cardiff University), Blake Turner (Cambria Vale College), James Bartlett (Cardiff and Vale College), Harry Boots, Dafydd Hellard (Cardiff Met), Matt Davies, Liam Rice-Wilson (Gloucestershire), Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Sion Jones, Marcus Webb (Leeds Beckett), Conor Meese, Sam Owen (Leeds Trinity), Aled Davies (Liverpool John Moores), Ieuan Jones (Northumbria), Daniel Crabtree (Nottingham), Tapiwanashe `Adrian’ Chaima (Nottingham Trent), Fraser Stroud (South Gloucestershire and Stroud), Rhys Davies, Jarad Hinnem (South Wales), Gethin Evans (Swansea).

The squad was seen off at a special dinner by former Wales Students and senior coach Clive Griffiths and former Great Britain international Andy Gregory.

Griffiths told the players: “You can expect a tough time, it’s a gruelling schedule playing every three days, and your resolve and physical toughness will be tested.

“You’ll find out more about yourselves on this tour than at any other time during your career. Good luck and I wish I was coming with you.”

England Head Coach Colin Baker’s 24 are Ben Stead, Brad Kislingbury, Harry Kidd and James Mason (all Gloucestershire), Aaron Hall (Bolton), Dan Harrison, Matt Ross (Nottingham Trent), Dom Bryan (Manchester Met), Elliot Hall, Lewis Lord, (Loughborough), Jack Lazenby, Josh Hamilton, Nathan Hill (Hull), Jacob Morgan, Jake Reed, Sam Druce, Zack McComb (Leeds Beckett), James Woodburn-Hall (Leeds), Jason Bass (Newcastle), Joshua Halstead (Birmingham), Kieran Sherratt (Coventry), Kieran Smith (Sheffield Hallam), Liam Wood (UCLan), Marcus Stock (Sheffield). Morgan is captain and Ross is vice-captain.

Scotland, under the experienced Nathan Graham, are: Archie Andrade (Maltings), Douglas Chirnside, Jack Elliott (Oxford Brookes), Mark Cordeaux (Sheffield), Mike Dowding (Loughborough), Jordan Duncan (Elmwood), Liam Faughlin (Newcastle, Australia), Justin Faughlin and Luke Westman (both TAFE Illawarra), Ethan Flowers (Wakefield), George Geddes (Brunel), Damien Genocchio (Glasgow); Niall Hall (Abertay), Scott Harrison, Daniel Turland, Toby Williams (Northumbria), Matt Hogg, Finlay Hutchison (Newcastle, England), Scott Plumridge (Glasgow Clyde), Jack Plumridge (Strathclyde), Gavin Reed (Leeds Trinity), Callum Smithson, Luke Walters (Leeds Beckett).

Ireland flew out from Dublin with Head Coach Carl de Chenu accompanied by assistants Wayne Kerr and Rohan Smith, manager Bill McKelvey and physio Keith Griffin. The 21 players also on board were John Tait, Peter Ryan , Aaron Ryan, Richard McHugh, Matt Connolly, Edward Weaver, Joseph Furlong, Elliot Munnelly, Samuel Boyd, Joshua Crabtree, Emmet Banahan, Adam Doyle, Matthew Cahoon, Ryan Guilfoyle, Matthew McKelvey, Connor Phillips, Roy Stanley, Alan McMahon, Jordan Hylton, Eathon Maloney and Peter O’Neill.

Tournament fixtures are:

Friday 7 July

Scotland v Wales; New Zealand v Ireland; England v Australia.

Sunday 9 July

Ireland v Scotland; Wales v England; Australia v New Zealand.

Wednesday 12 July

Australia v Ireland; England v Scotland; New Zealand v Wales.

Friday 14 July

World Cup Semi-finals and fifth v sixth play-off.

Sunday 16 July

Student World Cup Final (Pepper Stadium, Penrith, 4.15pm).