23rd October 2010, 16:11
Mark Rowley and Iestyn Harris comment on the win
Wales Rugby League's Executive Chairman Mark Rowley has said...
Wales Rugby League's Executive Chairman Mark Rowley has said that qualifying for the Four Nations is bigger than Wales Rugby Union winning the Six Nations.
Rowley was in France watching Wales beat the hosts 12-11 to retain the Alitalia European Cup and qualify to face England, Australia and New Zealand next year.
Lloyd White's penalty sealed things for Wales right at the death after skipper Gareth Thomas and North Wales youngster Rhys Williams scored the Welsh tries earlier in the game.
"This is massive for Wales Rugby League," he said. "Some people have compared it to winning the Six Nations in rugby union but I think it's bigger. We are now in the elite of Rugby League and are in the top four nations in the world. This is a massive boost for Rugby League in Wales and we look forward to welcoming England, Australia and New Zealand next year. The win shows how far we've come in such a short time. It's our biggest achievement ever."
Coach Iestyn Harris knows that the hard work is just about to begin for him and for the whole of Wales.
"I'm very very pleased," he said. "It's an exciting time for Wales Rugby League. We've not gone ahead of ourselves. What was important to us was to win this competition. The benefits of it will come into fruition for Wales Rugby League over the next 12 months. It's up to the powers that be now to decide whether we get a mid-season test against one of the big three and there's the prospect of the Four Nations after that. It's extremely pleasing to have won.
"To be An extremely good French team full of Super League standard players on their own soil is an achievement in itself. For now, Wales Rugby League, which has gone through some dark times over the past four or five years, to be in an elite World competition next year with the three best teams in world Rugby League is a testament to everyone involved in Wales Rugby League. That's to people going into the schools in Wales to teach children Rugby League to the junior coaches in Wales, to what they've achieved with the youngsters coming through. If we keep improving, who knows where we can go?
"It was a tough game today, full of intensity. France came back at us and were close to winning the game, but Lloyd White held his nerve. It was a fitting finish with Lloyd kicking the goal to give us the victory because he was our stand-out player in this tournament. It's important he keeps working hard and doing the little things right and if he keeps heading in the direction he's going in, the sky's the limit for him as it is for all of us here at Wales Rugby League."