Wales Rugby League Students will leave for the World Cup this Thursday with a 26-man squad, that will be reduced to 24 before the tournament starts.
The squad contains a number of players who have already played professionally.
The Leeds Beckett quartet, Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Marcus Webb and Sion Jones have all played for South Wales Scorpions / Ironmen. Webb is now a regular at Hunslet Hawks with Jones on Halifax’s books.
Cobi Green made his professional debut last week for the Ironmen, Huw Parks has also played for them this season, whilst mature student Paul Emanuelli is the League 1 club’s record points scorer. Dafydd Hellard and Rhys Davies have also turned out for the club, whilst Blake Turner of Cambria Vale College is a regular in the North Wales Crusaders side.
Following a five-day training camp and a warm-up friendly match, they’ll compete in opening game of the competition where they’ll take on Scotland.
Wales, who are coached by Latham Tawhai and managed by Mark Jones, will also face England and New Zealand in tough qualifying stage of the six-team competition.
The side had a farewell dinner in Deeside last weekend where former Wales Students and senior coach Clive Griffiths and former Great Britain international Andy Gregory were the speakers.
Griffiths coached Wales in three Student World Cups and two full international World Cups so leant his experience to the team.
Speaking to the squad on Saturday evening, he said: “It’s a massive achievement for all you all to be going to the Student World Cup in Australia. You can expect a tough time, it’s a gruelling schedule, you have to back up games, playing every three days, and your resolve and physical toughness will be tested. You’ll find out more about yourselves on this tour than at any other time during your career. Good luck and I wish I was coming with you. Do your best to bring the World Cup home to Wales.”
WALES (26-man squad): Blake Turner (Cambria Vale College), Huw Parks (Cardiff University), James Bartlett (Cardiff and Vale College), Harry Boots, Dafydd Hellard (both Cardiff Metropolitan University), Dewi Billingham, Paul Emanuelli, Cobi Green, Macauley Harris, Archie Snook (all Coleg y Cymoedd), Matt Davies, Liam Rice-Wilson (both University of Gloucestershire), Connor Davies, Curtis Davies, Sion Jones, Marcus Webb (all Leeds Beckett University), Conor Meese, Sam Owen (both Leeds Trinity University), Aled Davies (Liverpool John Moores University), Ieuan Jones (Northumbria University), Daniel Crabtree (Nottingham University), Tapiwanashe “Adrian” Chaima (Nottingham Trent University), Fraser Stroud (South Gloucestershire and Stroud College), Rhys Davies, Jarad Hinnem (University of South Wales), Gethin Evans (Swansea University).
STUDENT WORLD CUP FIXTURES – all matches in Sydney, Australia.
Friday 7th July
1:00pm Scotland vs Wales St Marys Stadium
2:00pm New Zealand vs Ireland Ringrose Park, Wentworthville
6:45pm England vs Australia St Marys Stadium
Sunday 9th July
2:00pm Ireland vs Scotland New Era Stadium, Cabramatta
2:00pm Wales vs England Windsor Sports Complex
6:00pm Australia vs New Zealand New Era Stadium, Cabramatta
Wednesday 12th July
2:00pm Australia vs Ireland New Era Stadium, Cabramatta
4:00pm England vs Scotland New Era Stadium, Cabramatta
6:00pm New Zealand vs Wales New Era Stadium, Cabramatta
Friday 14th July
11:00am 5th vs 6th Windsor Sports Complex
1:00pm First Semi-final Ringrose Park, Wentworthville
3:00pm Second Semi-final Ringrose Park, Wentworthville
Sunday 16th July
4:15pm World Cup Final Pepper Stadium, Penrith