10th July 2013, 17:00
LUCKWELL WANTS TO TAME THE LIONS
WALES' ON-FORM LIVEWIRE HOOKER HOPES THE DRAGONHEARTS GET OFF TO A FLYER AGAINST ENGLAND
(PICTURE - WALES DRAGONHEARTS VICE CAPTAIN MARTIN LUCKWELL)
By Gary Baker. Wales Rugby League Communications Manager
MARTIN Luckwell has been in the form of his life in the South Wales Conference this season and now he wants to unlease that onto the English this Sunday (July 14).
Luckwell has played at hooker for the Valley Cougars, and has brought the zip of his rugby union scrum-half position to the side.
It has been enough for Luckwell to land the vice-capataincy of the Wales Dragonhearts team who kick-off their Home Nations Championshiips against the England Lions at The Gnoll, Neath (kick-off: 1pm)
Wales have been fortunate to have two excellent hookers in their extended squad. Newport Titans Rhys Meredith is the other one and was man of the match in May's Coast v Country Origin Game.
However, there is only room for one number nine in the team for the Nations opener and Luckwell has seized his chance with both hands.
He said: “It has been a brilliant season to be honest. We have a cracking team here (at Valley Cougars) and I am just having a really good season and really enjoyable.
“I can't wait to play against England. Everyone wants to play for your country against England.”
Luckwell paid tribute to Meredith, adding: “He is a really good player but I like a challenge and competition makes you play better.
“There is another good hooker there from North Wales in the squad so there is again some good competition there for the Home Nations this season.”
Luckwell plays rugby union in the Championships 'at a high level' with Tata Steel RFC but said: “I've enjoyed rugby league more than union this year.
“Where I play in league and union is where I can be a bit of nuisance which is my game. Both are similar positions (dummy-half and scrum-half) because you are snipping and getting around the fringes but in league the ball is in play a lot longer.”
Wales play Ireland and Scotland in August but to have the big one first means that the side, coached by Mike Grady and captained by Luckwell's Cougars team-mate Paul Emmanuelli, have to hit the ground running straight away.
“It is England's sport. It is bigger there than it is in Wales and to be them is what everyone wants to do. They have been together for a few months and we have only had two training sessions. So we need to get out of the blocks quickly.”
But the squad are already getting used to each other. Luckwell added: “We gelled a lot quicker in our first training session than we thought. Everyone has got to buy into the same calls, which was a bit confusing at first, but we got into it by the end of the sessions.”
He fancies that Wales can do well in the Home Nations, adding: “It is a physical side. The first game is the toughest and then we can work on getting ready to take on Ireland.”
Wales assemble in Cardiff on Saturday before going to Neath for the big match which kicks off at 1pm, on Sunday.
Tickets for the match are £5 for adults and £3 for children and concessions.
Wales Dragonhearts (v England Lions. The Gnoll, Neath. Sunday July 14. KO: 1pm)