Other Wales international sides
In addition to the Wales seniors, Wales field a number of other international sides. This is a brief overview on all of them, with the full results for each on the right.
Wales Dragonhearts are the representative side of the Welsh Conference. All players who play in the Conference leagues in both north and south Wales are eligable for selection.
The Dragonhearts enter the Conference Four Nations tournament and are the most successful side in the history of this competition. They have played annually against their England, Scotland and Ireland counterparts since 2002.
The side began life as the Wales A in 1991 when they played their first game beating the touring Russian club side, Moscow Spartak at Swansea's St Helens ground in 1991 played before the first team beat Papua New Guinea 68-0.
Their first ever international was in May 1994 when they were so close to beating England, but went down 14-10 at the Morfa Stadium in Swansea. This game may not have sent shockwaves around the country and did not receive the publicity that recent "A" internationals have done, but did produce a new star. Jason Lee was promptly signed by Warrington and ended up playing seven times for the full Welsh national side, scoring four tries in the process.
Lee was just the first of many players from the Wales "A" or "Dragonhearts" side to turn professional. From 2002-2010, Wales fielded 130 players with 27 of them eventually playing professional rugby league. Future professionals Aled James, Gareth Honor, Richard Singleton and Pete Moore lined up in the first side that beat Scotland 40-22 in Glasgow alongside former Gateshead Thunder player Stuart Singleton.
Dean Scully, Darren Ryan, Richard Johnston, Neil Davies, Damien Hudd, Paul Morgan, Neil Dixon, Lloyd O'Connor, Karl Hocking, Marcus Sainsbury, Grant Epton, Carle Ellis, David James, Christiaan Roets, Tom Burnell, Lee Williams, Elliot Kear, Ashley Bateman, Steve Parry, Gil Dudson, Jamie Murphy, Shaun Owens were the other Dragonhearts players from that first decade who went on to play professional rugby league in some shape or form.
Plus the future Wales Rugby Union star Richard Hibbard played one game for the Dragonhearts, coming on as a substitute in the 28-18 win over England in 2003 in his native Aberavon, while a year later, Tom Brown, now with Cardiff Blues, took to the field in the 56-12 win over Ireland at the old Cardiff Athletics Stadium before winning his lone full international cap against Scotland in Glasgow a few months later.
Under 18 and 16 sides
Wales first played at junior level in 2001 when an under 17 side travelled up to Warrington to play a friendly against Scotland and won 84-0. Not a bad start.
An under 19 side took to the field for the first time in a Home International series from April 5th-7th 2002 at Crewe and Alsager College. The team drawn from Cardiff, Aberdare and surrounding areas had been the product of the hard work of the WRL development officer Stuart Singleton and the South Wales Schools Rugby League under the guidance of Colin Neale.
These two sides were eventually regraded as under 18 and under 16 respectively. The under 16s regularly play in challenge matches against England and France, while the 18s play in Home and European international tournaments, famously winning the European Championship in 2008.
Players like Rhodri Lloyd Jack Pring, Chris Davies, Lewis Reece, Ben Flower, Gil Dudson and Elliot Kear to name just a few, started out in the Wales junior sides before winning full caps.
The Wales Student side goes back further than the modern era full international side. While the seniors "reformed" in 1991, the Wales Students side was formed by the late Dr Phil Melling in 1988 and entered the 1989 Student World Cup, the second of its kind.
Under Melling's managership and Clive Griffith's coaching, Wales won the Student European Championships for five years in a row in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This side have since reached the semi-finals of two World Cups, 1992 and 2008, both under the leadership of Griffiths.
The Wales Student side also enter an annual British tournament when they take on England, Scotland and Ireland and regularly provide players for the Great Britain side who made history when they beat Australia on their own turf in 2011 to win back the prized Academic Ashes.
Many Wales Student internationals have since turned professional and have won full international honours.
Wales played their first ever games in Wheelchair Rugby League in July 2012, coming second to England in a Four Nations tournament.
Wheelchair Rugby League is fairly unique in that it offers both disabled and non-disabled players of both sexes the opportunity to compete both with and against each other on a level playing field.
This is created by the use of wheelchairs and some slight adaptations to the rules of 13-a-side Rugby League.
- There are five players on each side
- The object of the game is to score tries
- Conversions are scored by punching the ball over the mini-posts from a tee
- Tackles are made in the same way as Tag Rugby by pulling off the attached tag
- Five tackles are followed by the handing over of possession
- Offside, knock-on and in-touch apply just like in the full version of the game
Wales, whose first ever captain is Alan Caron, are looking to enter a side in the 2013 World Cup.