17th August 2011, 07:58
Lloyd White looks to Four Nations and beyond
Iestyn Harris' Wales side will take part in the end-of-season Four Nat
Iestyn Harris' Wales side will take part in the end-of-season Four Nations, while the country will help host the 2013 World Cup.
And for Lloyd White, one of the Crusaders' shining lights this season, the lure of an international jersey has been something to look forward to amid the domestic misery.
The Wales side kick-off their campaign with a warm-up match against Ireland at The Gnoll in Neath on Saturday 22nd October (kick-off 6pm) and White says that he can't wait to pull on a Welsh jersey again.
"It's definitely good to be involved in the Four Nations and get the chance to put Wales out there on a world stage," he said.
"Wales hasn't been at this level of international rugby league for a quite a while now and it's good for the players and good for the country to be getting back to that level.
"Wales have struggled since the likes of Jonathan Davies and John Devereaux were making the headlines, but we've started performing well recently and, if we can put in some good performances and show that we can compete against the best teams, then that will give the game a great boost.
"Having the best teams and the best players in the world coming to Wales certainly won't hinder that.
"If we play well and the fans can see the world's greatest players on their doorstep then hopefully they'll get a taste of what the game is like and become involved in the sport."
White is expected to be a key player in the Wales side, while some of his club team--mates, the likes of Ben Flower and the legendary Gareth Thomas, are expected to join him in lining up to sing 'The Land of my Fathers'.
A tumultous year in Wrexham could well have crushed their enthusiasm for the game, especially as the impending exit of the Crusaders means the nation's youngsters have no clear pathway to the elite competition, but White inists that is not the case.
"What's happened with Crusaders hasn't dampened the spirits of the Welsh players," he said.
"We all play for Wales because we want to represent Wales. It won't affect the team come the Four Nations because we all want to play and we all want to put in the performances that will help drive the sport in this country and take it forward.
"Players like myself who have played in the reserves at Crusaders and then gone through to play at senior level have showed this year that we can compete and we've proved ourselves in Super League.
"After what's happened lots of us have been picked up by other clubs and that has been a confidence boost for us because it shows that we are good enough as players."
Having no Super League side to aspire to be a part of means that concerns have been expressed for the thousands of youngsters to have taken up the sport during the Crusaders' reigns in both north and south Wales.
White, though, hopes that success at a national level can help to fill that void.
He added: "There's never been any problem producing talented players in Wales, the problem was getting them to play League, but that's changed in recent years and if we can perform well and show that we're a good side, then hopefully that will carry on and more young players will take up the game
"It's been encouraging to see the work that's been put in in South Wales, especially by all the coaches down there and that's given players like myself a clear route to get to the top level and hopefully that can continue."