Reigning European Champions Wales have strengthened their squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup European Qualifiers against Serbia and Italy in Pool A, with the return of Super League star quartet, Warrington winger Rhys Evans, Widnes pair Gil Dudson and Lloyd White, and Wigan enforcer Ben Flower.
The initial 29-man train-on squad contains ten Super League players, nine from the Championship, seven via League 1 and two who play overseas; Mackay Cutters’ Andrew Gay and Ollie Olds from South Logan Magpies.
Skipper Craig Kopczak commented: “With coach John Kear coming in, he’s steadied the ship; we’ve gone from strength to strength. He’s helped a lot especially with the young guys who have been fantastic. It will be good to get back into camp so that we can re-establish our camaraderie. Everyone really looks forward to it, this is a great time to be involved with Wales.”
Widnes hooker Lloyd White added: “I’ve had injuries over the last couple of years, so I’m looking forward to getting back involved. One of my goals this year was to build a bit of consistency. I’ve not worked with John [Kear] before, but I’m looking forward to it.
“We can’t be aiming for anything other than two wins in the Qualifiers. We need to build on the work that some of the younger lads have done over the last two years. I was quite disappointed with how I performed personally and with the team as a whole at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, so we’ll be looking to right a few wrongs.”
Wales’ 29-man train-on squad
Dan Fleming (Bradford Bulls), Dalton Grant (Dewsbury Rams), Michael Channing (Featherstone Rovers), Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (London Broncos), Andrew Gay (Mackay Cutters), Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders), Joe Burke (Oldham), Phil Joseph (Vice Captain) Craig Kopczak (Captain) (Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Oliver Olds (South Logan Magpies), Courtney Davies, Connor Farrer, Ian Newbury, Christiaan Roets (South Wales Ironmen), Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles, Calvin Wellington (St Helens), Jake Emmitt, Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Morgan Evans, Steve Parry, Lewis Reece (University of Gloucestershire All Golds), Anthony Walker (Wakefield Wildcats), Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves), Gil Dudson, Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings) and Ben Flower (Wigan Warriors)