27th October 2016, 19:42
WALES NAME 19-MAN SQUAD FOR ITALY QUALIFIER
John Kear has named two uncapped players in his 19-man squad for Saturday's 2017 Rugby League World Cup Qualifier against Italy
John Kear has named two uncapped players in his 19-man squad for Saturday's 2017 Rugby League World Cup Qualifier against Italy.
It is a winner takes all contest in Monza, as both Wales and Italy have beaten Serbia in Pool A over the last two weekends.
Hunslet's Danny Ansell, Leigh's Sam Hopkins and St Helens' Ben Morris - who debuted in the friendly with Jamaica - have all been drafted in to The Dragons' World Cup Qualifiers squad.
Injuries to Ollie Olds (hand), Jake Emmitt (hamstring) and Ian Newbury (ankle) and the unavailability of Regan Grace, Lewis Reece and Christiaan Roets have allowed Kear to bring the players in.
Forward Sam Hopkins has cancelled a holiday with friends at short notice in order for him to link up with the Wales squad for the crucial clash.
"I'm a bit taken back by it all," Hopkins said. "I didn't realise how international call-ups worked.
"I was talking to Jake Emmitt and told him that the blood line was there for me to play for Wales.
"I then spoke to John Kear - he's watched me in the Championship and knows what type of player I am - and he asked me whether I'd be able to come in to camp.
"I was meant to be going on holiday so I've lost a bit of money, but that doesn't matter at all to me as it'll be an honour to play for Wales.
"I'm not thinking about the World Cup; if we don't win on Saturday, we may not be there, so I'm concentrating on the Italy match and I'll be doing my best to make sure we win.
"I'm really looking forward to it."
On his squad, John Kear said: "Italy are very experienced as they have a lot of Australian-based players in their squad.
"They had a good win in Serbia last weekend and looked dangerous, so we know that it’s going to be a big challenge.
"After the draw with Jamaica, we’ve had a good week in training and we’ll be looking to go out there and put in a performance.
"Hopefully, that’ll be enough to get us through to next year’s World Cup."
Wales' complete 19-man squad is as follows: Danny Ansell (Hunslet RLFC), Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions), Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (London Broncos), Andrew Gay (Mackay Cutters), Joe Burke (Oldham), Phil Joseph (vice captain) Craig Kopczak (captain) (Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Courtney Davies, Dai Evans, Connor Farrer (South Wales Ironmen), Ben Morris (St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Morgan Evans, Steve Parry (University of Gloucestershire All Golds), Anthony Walker (Wakefield Wildcats) and Gil Dudson, Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings)
Italy's 19, meanwhile, is as follows: Dean Parata (Blacktown), Patrik Ziliotti (Brianza Tigers), Joel Reithmuller (Cairns Brothers), Jayden Walker (Cronulla Sharks), Terry Campese, (Hull KR), Christophe Calegari (Lezignan Corbieres), Guiseppe Pagani (Lions Brescia), Gavin Hiscox (Mackay Cutters), Gioele Celerino (Newcastle Thunder), Kieran Quabba (North Queensland Cowboys), Ryan Ghietti, Col Wilkie, Justin Castellaro (Northern Pride), Richard Lepori (Oldham Roughyeds), Mason Cerruto (Parramatta Eels), Shannon Wakeman (St George-Illawarra), Brenden Santi (Townsville Blackhawks), Chris Centrone (Wyong Roos), Mirco Bergamasco (unattached)
You can watch the Qualifier against Italy live on YouTube HERE.