Wales Rugby League




7th September 2012, 15:20


It's all about progress, says national coach ahead of clashes with France and England

By Gary Baker

WALES head coach Iestyn Harris has named a 32-man squad for the International Triangluar Series with France and England next month.

Harris has been boosted with four of his senior players - Gil Dudson, Ben Flower, Craig Kopczak and Elliot Kear - all returning to the squad after missing the 28-16 defeat to France at Wrexham on June 16 through injury.

The two matches, which could become three if Wales qualify for the Series Final in the second week of November, is crucial to Harris' plans heading towards next year's World Cup.

Harris said: "These are two enormous games for us but crucial to our build-up and development for the 2013 World Cup which we are co-hosting. We have players with a lot of experience at international and Super League level in the squad and so they are used to facing the big names that England will probably put out against us in Wrexham on October 27.

"But we are also looking to give some of the youngsters we expect to be senior side regulars in a few years the chance to taste life with the main squad.

"This selection is about progressing for the future, and some of the players chosen are making great strides with our national squads and through their own clubs."

After Wales take on France in Lille on October 20, the big clash against the Red Rose rivals at Wrexham's Glyndwr Univeristy Racecourse Ground should see England coach Steve McNamara field stars like Wigan's Sam Tomkins, Warrington's Adrian Morley and Leeds Rhinos' Kevin Sinfield.

It will be a tall order for Wales to beat England and Harris added: "We know how tough that match is going to be but we have a squad who can be competitive against the biggest nations.We can build on the Four Nations last year and onwards to the future.

"There is no doubt our side will be giving everything they have got in these games as they are also the players' own showcase for squad selection next year. They will do themselves and Wales proud, I am sure."

As well as bringing back the likes of Wigan duo Flower and Dudson to the squad, Harris has also got Australia-based quintet Andrew Gay, Matt Seamark, Ian Webster, Neil Budworth and Lee Williams available again.

Those youngsters in the squad include rising talent Rhys Pugsley, who signed for Wigan and is in the Under-18 set-up there, plus Leeds Under-20 centre Jack Pring and Welsh Under-18 players Alex Jones, Osian Phillips and Courtney Davies.

Wales squad (v France and England. October): Elliot Kear (Bradford Bulls), Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves), Mike Channing (London Broncos), Christian Roets (North Wales Crusaders), Andrew Gay (Mackay Cutters, Australia), Danny Jones (Keighley Cougars), Rob Massam (North Wales Crusaders), Matt Seamark (Wynnum Manley Seagulls, Australia), David James (South Wales Scorpions), Jordan James (Salford City Reds), Gil Dudson, Ben Flower (both Wigan), Craig Kopczak (Bradford), Dan Flemming (Castleford Tigers), Ian Webster (Central Queensland Comets, Australia), Rhodri Lloyd (Wigan Warriors), Lee Williams (Mackay Cutters, Australia), Andy Bracek (Barrow Raiders), Ross Divorty (Halifax), Steve Parry (South Wales Scorpions), Neil Budworth (Mackay Cutters, Australia), Tom Morton (Newcastle Kinghts), Joe Burke (South Wales Scorpions), Jake Emmit (Castleford Tigers), Craig Moss (Keighley Cougars), Jack Pring (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Evans (Warrington Wolves), Rhys Pugsley (Wigan Warriors), Alex Jones, Osian Phillips, Courtney Davies (all South Wales Scorpions Under-18), Owain Brown (North Wales Crusaders).