21st October 2013, 16:55
Frizell boost for Wales as Italy looms
Wales coach Iestyn Harris has been boosted by the addition of Tyson Frizell to his World Cup squad. The St George Illawarra forward has been struggling with injury but has now joined up with the party, which is now up to its full complimen
Wales coach Iestyn Harris has been boosted by the addition of Tyson Frizell to his World Cup squad.
The St George Illawarra forward has been struggling with injury but has now joined up with the party, which is now up to its full compliment of 24 players after a space was left open for Frizell.
"Tyson arrived last night (Sunday) and he's been declared fit and healthy. He'll train with the team tomorrow," said Harris.
"Whether he's in a position to be vying for a starting position in the first game (against Italy on Saturday), we'll have to see. But Tyson is very committed to Wales and has been for a while. He's excited about this World Cup.
"He hasn't done any competitive training for the last three or four weeks so we'll have to see how he is."
The availability of Frizell, who made his international debut during the 2011 Four Nations Series, is a huge boost to Wales' chances of emerging from group D to make the quarter-finals.
Huddersfield prop Larne Patrick looks set to make his Wales debut alongside his club-mate Craig Kopczak, who is Wales captain.
Wigan regulars Gil Dudson and Ben Flower are also included and Harris is confident his forwards will be competitive when they face group opponents United States and Cook Islands.
"We've certainly got a pack that is capable of laying a good platform for us and that will be the emphasis for us," he added.
"We had eight days of a pre-tournament camp which was crucial to us so this week we've hit the ground running and everybody is excited and optimistic about the opportunity in front of them.
"The crucial thing for us is to get out of the group. We've got three difficult opponents. When you get through your group, then it's knockout football and that's where you want to be. When you are there, anything can happen.
"The challenge for us is to try and get our performances up to a very high standard over the first three games.
"The most difficult game is your first game and we're coming up against a team that has just beaten England so we're playing a side that has got good talent and a lot of confidence. That's a dangerous combination."
Harris was among the crowd at Salford on Saturday to witness qualifiers Italy pull off a shock 15-14 win over England.
"I'd say the result was a surprise - I expected England to be very strong and to dominate as the game progressed - but the performance wasn't a shock when you look at the quality and experience in that group," he said.
"We expected a lot from the Italians. I thought they were very dogged and competed extremely well.
"Our first two games are against two teams that have just beaten England and France so there's a big challenge in front of us."
The big opening game - Wales v Italy kicks off at 4.30pm at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff this Saturday. England v Australia proceeds it at 2.30pm. To make sure you'll #bethere buy now at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.