By Gareth Jones, Date: 29/10/13
Wrexham’s Rob Massam says it would be a dream come to true to run out for Wales at the Racecourse Ground this Sunday against USA in the Rugby League World Cup (kick-off 2pm).
Local boy Massam was named in Wales’ 24-man squad for the World Cup following an outstanding season for North Wales Crusaders. The powerful winger bagged 23 tries in 22 appearances as the Crusaders completed the Championship One and Northern Rail double.
And now the 26-year old, who lives near Moss Valley, is looking to live every boy’s dream by playing for his country.
His exploits have already caught the eye of Wales coach Iestyn Harris, who handed Massam his international debut against France in 2012 and Massam, who wasn’t in the Wales side last Saturday in their opening day defeat to Italy, now hopes to be in the line-up for the crucial clash against the Tomahawks this Sunday.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve been training hard this year and I’m looking forward to the whole Rugby League World Cup 2013 experience,” Massam said.
“I had a phone call from Iestyn expecting him to let me down gently but I was really excited when he told me I had made the squad. Playing for your country is the pinnacle of every athlete’s a career so I’m thrilled to be part of the squad. I’m learning so much from both the coaches and players and I’m just happy to be going to the Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“Running out in a Welsh jersey at the Racecourse would mean everything to me. I’ve grown up here in Wrexham,. I play my rugby here, all my friends are here and I live just around the corner in Gwersyllt. It’s every boy’s dream to play for their country and to do it in my home town would be extra special.
“My family have been really supportive. They were hoping that I’d make the squad after making the squad last year and they’re really proud of me. I want to make them proud now by getting more caps and playing for my country in my home town.”
In just two short years he has gone from playing community rugby for Chester Gladiators to representing Wales on the international stage.
And Massam’s rapid rise from amateur to fully-fledged international has been made all the more remarkable by the fact that he juggles playing for the Crusaders with his day job as a personal trainer.
Fulfilling his dream of playing for Wales at the World has come at a cost, with Rob having to sacrifice his income during the duration of the tournament.
Not only this but Rob has costs that he must meet whether he is working or not – such as his rental to DW Sports Fitness in Wrexham of £550 a month.
But those costs have now been covered, thanks to the generosity of the North Wales Crusaders and their fans.
Massam said: “The club and fans have helped me out a lot. My clients have been very supportive and understanding and I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. I’m training alongside some world class players and I’m trying to learn as much as I can. Opportunities to play in World Cups don’t come along very often so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”
The Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium is hosting two games as part of the showpiece event. In addition to this Sunday’s crucial encounter, a quarter final featuring the winners of Group A and Group D will be played on Saturday 16 November, 1pm kick off.
Tickets for both games at The Racecourse are available online at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets, in person at the Glyndwr University box-office or by calling the Rugby League World Cup ticket hotline on 0844 847 2013. You can enjoy both games for as little as £15.