Date: 15/10/13, By John Whitehead
Wales Rugby League captain Craig Kopczak can’t wait for the action to start as his side take to the field tomorrow (Tuesday) to take on a Welsh Select XIII at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay (kick-off 6pm).
The Welsh are preparing for their Rugby League World Cup campaign which starts on Saturday 26th October when Wales face Italy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and the Huddersfield Giants forward knows that there is a lot of work to do over the next fortnight.
“It’s exciting times,” he said. “We have quite a strong squad with a lot of Super League experience and we’ve gelled well together since our last tournament, so we can take that into the World Cup and start well.
“We haven’t met up as a whole squad for a while so I suppose that’s what the camp is for, but playing the game at international level is totally different. Every game is fantastic.”
The Welsh players have been in camp since last Wednesday and while this Tuesday’s game is important to Wales’ preparations, the 26-year old will be looking forward to leading his country out at one of the world’s greatest sporting arenas.
“It will be an unbelievable achievement for myself to lead the Wales side out at the Millennium Stadium,” he said. “I can’t wait for opening day against Italy and I’m sure it will rank as one of the highlights of my career.
“I think we’re in with a very good chance of doing well in this World Cup. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I rate our chances because we do have some fantastic players.
“We’ve just had some Welsh boys in the Super League Grand Final as well, so their experience of the big occasion could prove invaluable.
“We’re a lot stronger as a nation now and that leads right down to the youth as well, so it’s looking good for Welsh Rugby League.”
So who does he think will win the World Cup at Old Trafford on Saturday 30th November?
“Wales,” he said. “But every nation is really strong this time around and it is early days to be making such predictions, but, if we don’t get there, then you do have to be looking at England, New Zealand and Australia.
“Like I say, every one of those 14 teams are strong and I think that only bodes well for the competition.”
Wales v Wales Rugby League Select XIII is at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay on October 15th (kick-off 6pm). Tickets are £10 seated, £5 standing. Call 01492 577900 for more information or go to www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk.