Carfan Cymru | PDRL

Wales Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) head coach Rob Davies has named his squad for both the exhibition game against Team Colostomy UK and the full international against a PDRL All Stars side this June.

The match against Team Colostomy UK is at Pontypridd RFC on Sunday 9 June (kick-off 2.30pm) whilst the All Stars encounter is on Friday 21 June at Swansea RFC as the opening event of the Swansea Para Sport Festival (kick-off 7.30pm).

Following an extensive off-season program that saw athletes recruited from a range of sports the 21-man squad boasts no less than eight potential debutants following the birth of two South Wales club sides in the last 12 months.

Of the debutants, the most experienced are Torfaen Tigers’ Luke Simmonds, who represented the club and the Army prior to suffering what they thought was thought to be a career-ending neck injury and has since played Wheelchair Rugby League for both sides, whilst Jon Tranter plays for the Wigan Warriors’ PDRL side

Paul O’Keefe and Kevin Fellows both had experience in rugby union before their injuries and are joined by Dan Saunders, Dylan Gimber and Iestyn Tango who have already played Mixed Ability Rugby Union. The final newcomer, Ashton Fish joins from para-athletics having run for Wales at the Commonwealth Games.

They join Kieran Gardner, Eric Horridge and Sam Bowditch who made their debuts last year and the remaining ten players – Dylan Hughes, Tyma Hughes, Morgan Jones, Justin Martin, Stewart Newton, Isaac Pickett, Conor Rice, Chris Spriggs, Gareth Sullivan and Chris Young all represented Wales at the inaugural PDRL World Cup in 2022.

Davies said: “It’s been a great few months getting to know the players and their abilities. Everyone has really bought into the way we’re trying to play and I’m excited by what this group can do. I know there’s going to be some disappointed players who’ve missed out but the doors are not shut on them. We identified the need to build some depth ahead of the next World Cup and there’ll be plenty of opportunities between now and then.”

Team Manager Dave Jones who’s been with the squad in a variety of roles since its inception added: “I’m really excited for the upcoming international programme. The new players have gelled into the group well and we’ve had some very well-drilled training sessions under the new coaching staff and the standard is improving every month.”

WALES PDRL SQUAD: Paul O’Keefe*, Chris Spriggs (Aberavon FI Wolfhounds), Justin Martin (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Iestyn Tango* (Cardiff Chiefs MARU), Eric Horridge (Hull FC), Dylan Hughes, Isaac Pickett, Chris Young (Leeds Rhinos), Kieran Gardner, Tyma Hughes, Stewart Newton, Conor Rice (all Salford Red Devils), Sam Bowditch, Kevin Fellows*, Ashton Fish*, Dylan Gimber*, Morgan Jones, Dan Saunders*, Luke Simmonds*, Gareth Sullivan (all Torfaen Tigers), John Tranter* (Wigan Warriors).