2nd November 2011, 11:06
Watson wants to play in front of record crowd
Wales Rugby League will play in front of a record crowd for them when
Wales Rugby League will play in front of a record crowd for them when they walk out at Wembley Stadium this Saturday to take on New Zealand (kick-off 1pm).
At the start of the week, over 34,000 tickets had been sold for the Wembley double header in the Gillette Four Nations, which also sees England take on Australia at 3.30pm.
The previous best for any Rugby League game featuring a side from Wales anywhere in the world was when 30,042 packed into a then half-renovated Old Trafford to watch the 1995 World Cup semi-final against England. Wales have also recorded two estimated 30,000 home attendances - against France in Llanelli in 1935 and against England in Swansea in 1945.
Wales stalwart Ian Watson will become the first Rugby League player for Wales to hit 30 caps should he play and he can't wait for the experience.
"It is a great thing to play in front of big crowds and it's something you look back on at the end of the game," he said. "It's good that the WRL and RFL have done well in promoting the match to get a big crowd in.
"Playing at Wembley is a really big deal for Wales and if I'm in the 17 then it'll be a big deal for me too personally. I've never played there before and as I'm coming near to the end of my career and it's probably my last year with Wales too, it could be my first and only chance.
"Winning my 30th cap is not something I've looked at. I'm aware that I hold the most caps for Wales but I just enjoy playing for Wales. It's an honour every time I pull on the red shirt."
Wales will once again start as rank outsiders for this match but the 35-year old feels, despite the defeat to England last Saturday, that his side could ruffle a few Kiwi feathers underneath the Wembley arch.
"I think we've got a good chance to cause an upset," he said. "If we'd done things a little bit better against England then we'd have been a lot closer. I think the scoreline was more down to our errors than anything else. That enabled them to get better field positions than us and then be ruthless in executing."
With Watson reaching the end of his Wales career over the next couple of weeks, he reflects on how things have changed since he made his international debut in 1995 on a college American Football ground in Philadelphia against USA.
"Wales have got a bright future," Watson said. "Back in 1995 when I started we had people like David Young and Paul Moriarty in the side and players all through the top division with Wales. Things have changed a lot since then and we had a lean period. Now we've got youngsters coming through all the time, the future looks good. We just have to keep building and become more of an established force again over the next few years."
The Four Nations tournament heads to Wembley Stadium on Saturday November 5 when Wales face New Zealand at 1.00pm before England clash with Australia at 3.30pm. Tickets for the Wembley double header cost from £25 adults and £10 concessions. A family ticket giving admission to two adults and two children costs just £55.
England's remaining group game against New Zealand will be played at the KC Stadium in Hull on Saturday November 12 (6.00pm) and tickets are priced from £20 adult and £10 concession.
Wales will play Australia in their final group fixture at The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham on Sunday November 13 and fans will be able to attend the game for £10 adult and £5 concessions.
The 2011 Gillette Four Nations final will be played at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday November 19 (6.00pm) and tickets are priced from £20 Adult and £10 concession.
Tickets for the 2011 Gillette Four Nations can be purchased by calling 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk