Wales are already in camp in preparation for their 2017 Ruby League World Cup Pool A qualifiers against Italy and Serbia, and international with Jamaica at Wakefield. Their 22-man squad sees the return of Super League stars Gil Dudson and Lloyd White along with the bulk of the players who lifted last year’s European Championship.
“I’m really pleased with the look of our squad,” commented Head coach John Kear, who is looking to become the first to lead three different nations into a World Cup. “The addition of Gil Dudson and Lloyd White will make us stronger as a unit and will also help some of the younger players.
“This is an important period for Wales but our group is a very hard working one and there’s always a good atmosphere in camp. We want to build on our achievements last year.”
Craig Kopczak will skipper the side again with Phil Joseph, who has just re-signed with Bradford Bulls, as vice-captain.
Lewis Reece is thoroughly enjoying being back in the national team environment. “It’s always the time of the year I look forward to the most,” he said. “The win over France last year at Cardiff Arms Park, in my home town, is something I’ll never forget.
“It’s good to have players like Gil and Lloyd back. They’re both established Super League players and are home grown boys. I played at the same community rugby club as Lloyd, so I know him well and have a lot to do with him outside of rugby. The last time we played together with Wales was in 2010.
“The coaching staff here are great. They’ve brought tradition and the Welsh dragon into camp, and they have really got the boys together. I’ve not been coached this way before. They encourage you, and John will always take time to have a chat and help me.”
Wales 22-Man Squad
Phil Joseph (Bradford Bulls), Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (London Broncos), Joe Burke (Oldham), Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Oliver Olds (South Logan Magpies), Courtney Davies, Morgan Evans, Connor Farrer, Andrew Gay, Ian Newbury, Steve Parry, Lewis Reece, Christiaan Roets (South Wales Ironmen), Regan Grace, Calvin Wellington (St Helens), Jake Emmitt, Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Anthony Walker (Wakefield Wildcats), Gil Dudson, Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings)