Three Yorkshire-based Super League players have all confirmed that they will be available to play for Wales in this year’s Rugby League European Championship.
Wales have two home games this year, taking on Scotland in Wrexham on Friday 16th October (kick-off 8pm) before hosting the official 80th anniversary game of the Championships when they France at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday 30th October (kick-off 6.30pm).
Craig Kopczak of Huddersfield Giants is back after missing last season’s Wales games, as is Michael Channing of Castleford Tigers, who like Kopczak has been instrumental in leading his side to the Super 8’s, while Anthony Walker of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats also returns.
Kopczak, who captained Wales in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, missed last year’s games for personal reasons but now can’t wait to get back into the swing of things with his country.
“I had a year out for a freshen up,” he said. “But now I’m really looking forward to getting back in the mix.
“I’ve not been involved in the Euros before so excited to see what it’s about, hopefully we’ll bring the trophy back to Wales.”
The 28-year old, who has won eight Welsh caps since his debut in the 2011 Four Nations, has had one of the best seasons in his career.
An ever present in Super League this year, Huddersfield Giants, whatever happens in their last two regular season Super League games, are in the semi-finals and as such are a game away from an Old Trafford appearance.
“What a season and long may it continue,” he said. “You never know what will happen. We’ve one game to go and we’re looking for first or second in Super League which is still in our reach. If we go about our business, you never know what’ll happen. It’ll be fantastic if I could end the year with Super League and European Championship wins.”
With two of Kopczak’s Yorkshire-based team-mates also confirmed today for Wales, in addition to the already established Lloyd White and Ben Flower, Wales are looking to field a strong side in 2015 full of Super League players and Kopczak says that everyone is talking about it.
“I’ve spoken to players after Super League games, we’re looking forward to getting back and having a crack at the competition.
“We’re looking forward to both games. The Cardiff Arms Park match will be special as it’s an historic ground. I’ve warmed up on the pitch but not played on it so it’ll be an experience playing on an ipitch. I’ve played on Widnes’ pitch so know what it’s all about, it’s a fast track and will suit our playing style. We can’t wait.”
To buy tickets for both of Wales’ games in the 2015 European Championship, please go to http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/match_day/tickets