27th October 2010, 09:05
Lloyd White - Wales can test world's best
Wales hero Lloyd White has no doubt the world's elite will face a stern test in the principality next year. Wales will play England, New Zealand and Australia...
Wales hero Lloyd White has no doubt the world's elite will face a stern test in the principality next year.
Wales will play England, New Zealand and Australia in the 2011 Four Nations tournament after dramatically beating France in their European Cup decider to qualify last Saturday.
Cardiff-born White secured a nail-biting 12-11 victory - and arguably the biggest achievement in Welsh rugby league history - when he nervelessly kicked the match-winning penalty, his 50th goal of the season, after 77 minutes in Albi.
The win opens up big opportunities for the game in Wales and comes on top of the significant progress made by club sides Crusaders and South Wales Scorpions over the past year.
White, 22, said: "It went down to the final minute. We didn't need that, especially after another one-pointer against Ireland.
"We would have liked to have gone a couple of points clear but they all count at the end and it probably made for better viewing!
"I was thinking, 'Just keep my form - I know I can kick these, right in front of the posts'.
"I knew if I just did that it would go over, so I blocked out the crowd.
"It is the best achievement I've been involved in. France were expected to beat us on their home patch so it was fantastic to win and now we can look forward to the Four Nations next year.
"It is going to be a lot harder but just to be there playing in the top flight of rugby is going to be great for all us players and great for the country as well.
"I think we will be able to compete with the teams, at least. I'm not saying we are going to beat teams but we will give them a good challenge, I know that."
The game was an obvious career highlight for White, who made just seven appearances for Super League Crusaders last year and played 13 times for Championship One Scorpions under the dual-registration scheme.
White grew up playing union but joined league side Newport Titans as a teenager and has not looked back since.
He now hopes more of the Welsh public can fall in love with the 13-man code.
He said: "I played union until the age of 18 or 19, when a coach who was also involved in rugby league asked me to give it a go.
"Basically, that was it. I think it was the best thing I could have done.
"This is absolutely massive and a real stepping stone for spreading the word of rugby league, not just in Wales but around the world.
"Hopefully we can start getting more people interested, more people playing and take it further."
White now feels his next challenge is to establish himself in Super League with Wrexham-based Crusaders.
"That is the plan, to try to push my way into the first team and see what I can do from there," he said. "I want to challenge myself against the best players around and I can only get better from here."