Wales Rugby League



Chester Butler and Dan Fleming in Wales squad this autumn

12th October 2018, 17:14

Chester Butler and Dan Fleming in Wales squad this autumn

Halifax duo Chester Butler and Dan Fleming will both turn out for Wales during the upcoming European Championship and 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifiers.

Wales face France, Scotland and Ireland this autumn and John Kear's full squad for the tournament will be revealed at 8am on October 18.

Although Butler travelled to last year's World Cup in Australia and made his Wales debut in the opener with Papua New Guinea, his call-up was a whirlwind experience. 

Around a week before the Dragons' squad were set to board the plane and head to the southern hemisphere, Wales bosses found out that Butler qualified to play through heritage.

That is because he is the grandson of Colin Dixon, who is one of the greatest players to wear a Welsh rugby league shirt and was capped for his country and Great Britain 30 times. 

After picking up concussion in the defeat to Papua New Guinea and sitting out the Fiji and Ireland matches at the World Cup, Butler is eager to represent Wales again this autumn.

"I'm buzzing," he said. "We've got three big games coming up and it's a really important tournament for us.

"To enjoy experiences like we had at the World Cup last year, you have to win these games in the qualifying stages. 

"I hope I can impress John Kear when we start the training camp as I want to play a part in all of the matches."

In 2018, the 23-year-old has been a regular for Halifax, who shocked many people by reaching the Qualifiers, battling it out with Super League's bottom four and the rest of the Championship's top four for a place in the first tier.  

"It's the first season for a while where I've played nearly every week," Butler said.

"It's felt really good to be back playing week in, week out and it'll hopefully bode well for the Wales camp."

Dan Fleming was in Wales' 2013 World Cup squad

Like Butler, Fleming has been one of the first names on Richard Marshall's Halifax teamsheet this season.

He said: "It was massive for Halifax to make it to the Qualifiers as we were the only part-time team in the competition.

"When you consider the amount of money some of the other clubs had spent, we did well to get to where we did." 

Fleming last featured for Wales three years ago. He missed qualification for the 2017 World Cup because of injury and wasn't able to travel to the tournament itself as his son was born.

"It's probably going to be a bit different as the squad's changed since I last played, but there's nothing better than playing with a passionate group of lads who want to represent their country," Fleming said.

"As well as for the team, this tournament is really important for me personally as I didn't play in the 2013 World Cup and couldn't travel to the one last year.

"One of my targets is playing at a World Cup for my country so I want to do all I can to make sure we get one of those two qualifying places this year."

Tickets for Wales' international with Ireland at the Racecourse Stadium in Wrexham on Sunday, November 11 (3pm) are now on sale. By booking tickets in advance, you can save money on matchday prices. 

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