WEST WALES RAIDERS chairman Andrew Thorne has sent his congratulations to the South Wales developed players who have made this year’s Wales World Cup side and has said that his club will be doing their best to discover and nurture more.
Wales take on Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby tomorrow, (Saturday, Oct 28, kick-off 6am BST) and, like their opponents, are likely to field a number of home-grown stars.
In Wales’ 24-man World Cup squad, exactly half played in Wales’ under 18 side in the past, whilst nine started playing Rugby League via the development systems in South Wales.
Elliot Kear, Courtney Davies, Steve Parry, Rhodri Lloyd, Dalton Grant, Joe Burke and Christiaan Roets all played in the first team for South Wales Scorpions (who were briefly known as South Wales Ironmen this year before being taken over by West Wales Raiders) after coming through junior or community sides in the area, Regan Grace played in the South Wales youth ranks before being snapped up by St Helens, whilst Ben Evans played Rugby League for Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend for three years before joining Warrington Wolves.
In addition, Australian-born Andrew Gay, whose father is from Splott in Cardiff, has had two spells playing professionally in South Wales after coming over to Wales to become a founder member of the Scorpions in 2010.
“First of all I’d like to congratulate our two current players in Christiaan Roets and Andrew Gay for making the 21-man squad for Saturday’s game,” Thorne said. “They were the club’s two outstanding players in 2017 and thoroughly deserve their place.
“It’s also pleasing to see how many players from the current Wales side came through the youth, community and professional ranks in South Wales. The area has a big history in developing top class international players and West Wales Raiders will certainly be aiming to continue this work.
“With Wales under 16s beating England for the first time ever this year, a side that contained primarily players from South Wales, there’s a lot to be enthusiastic about. We’ve trials for new players happening soon and we know from history that they always pick up a gem or two.
“Good luck to Wales on Saturday and for the tournament. We’ll be continuing the hard work here and helping to develop players who will be ready for the next World Cup.”
For more information on the Wales side, go to the dedicated squad page at http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/wales/wales_players/world_cup_squad.
UK viewers can watch Wales v Papua New Guinea live on Premier Sports TV or listen live on BBC Radio Five Live Sports Extra. Extended highlights are on prime-time BBC1 at 1.15pm with the full game repeated on Premier Sports at 3.30pm. For a full list of where to watch the Rugby League World Cup, go to https://www.rugbyleagueontv.com.
West Wales Raiders will take their place in a 14-team League 1 competition next year and will play their home games at their own Stebonheath Park ground in Llanelli, which is where the Ironmen finished playing last season’s matches. They are holding player trials at Trimsaran RFC on Sunday (Oct 29) at 10:45am and at the Caerphilly Centre of Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach on Sunday, November 5 at 3:45pm. Register your interest by emailing [email protected] or calling 07772949956.
Picture by Darren Harries.