WALES Students Rugby League Head Coach Latham Tawhai has confirmed his 36-man train-on squad in the build-up to next summer’s World Cup in Australia.
Two of the party are already full Welsh caps, among a number of professional players.
The duo are Paul Emanuelli (Coleg y Cymoedd), who played for Wales a couple of years ago, and Gloucestershire All Golds’ Morgan Evans.
South Wales Ironmen, meanwhile, have eight players in the mix.
Tawhai said: “We had a great turn out for the recent training day so I’d firstly like to thank all the boys for their attendance, not only this week but also at the first session we had a few weeks back. We also had a number of coaches in attendance as well which is great for the players to be able to develop and gain experience from different people.
“I feel like I say this every year but I do believe we have an excellent crop of players coming through, all putting their hands up for one of the 24 places on the plane. No disrespect to players who have gone before but I think it’s the best group I’ve had during the last four years, certainly in terms of depth.
“Wales Rugby League do a fantastic job developing young players and many of them have progressed to be in contention for a World Cup place.”
He continued: “We now have a core group who have been together for a couple of years, and this time around, we’ll be able to add a little bit of experience which will make a big difference. As you always get at this level, there are also some players with great athletic ability who are fairly new to the game. As they develop, they’ll offer plenty of positives to the squad in their own way.
“We’ll be looking to play a few games as part of our preparations and at this stage we’d welcome anyone who may be able to provide some opposition.”
Wales Students, meanwhile, are seeking backers to help fund their involvement in the World Cup. Team manager Mark Jones said: “This is a very exciting time for WRL and, for these young players, the chance of a lifetime.
“We have strength in depth this year and hope to go all the way to the World Cup Final but for our dream to become reality, we are looking for companies to sponsor the World Cup squad.”
An official WRL souvenir magazine previewing all three of the World Cups in 2017 – Student, Wheelchair, and the full tournament at the end of the year – will be available in the spring.
The Wales Students squad, meanwhile, is: Lewis Harrison (Bangor University), Morgan Evans (University of Bath), Harry Boots, Dafydd Hellard, George Jenkins, Jordan Howells, Tom Morgan, Jamie Murphy (all Cardiff Metropolitan University), Huw Parks, Jordan Sheridan (both Cardiff University), Ethan Coombes, Cobi Green, Macauley Harris, Paul Emanuelli, Archie Snook (all Coleg y Cymoedd), Matt Davies, Liam Rice-Wilson (both University of Gloucestershire), Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Sion Jones, David Phillips, Marcus Webb (all Leeds Beckett University), Connor Meese, Sam Owen (both Leeds Trinity University), Jack Bond (Liverpool John Moores University), Ieuan Jones (Northumbria University), Daniel Crabtree (University Of Nottingham), Adrian Chaima, Jordan Elphick, Alec Wheatley (all Nottingham Trent University), Lewis Hughes (Neath Port Talbot College), Jarad Hinen, Lloyd Selby-Smith (both University of South Wales), Gethin Evans, Louie Ford (Swansea University), Sam Buckthought (University of Worcester).