East Wales and West Wales have named their squads for their match-up in the second WRL Men’s Origin Series match, which is being played this Saturday at Penygraig RFC (kick-off 2.30pm).
The home side are coming into this game on the back of a crushing 60-4 defeat at North Wales, where they were forced to field an understrength side.
There are seven new additions to the 19-player East Wales squad. Returning is captain Kurtis Haile, along with Wes Cunliffe, Rob Davies and Jermarie Chatham, just four of ten Torfaen Tigers players in the squad. Ross Price and Shane Kerby of South Wales Jets, and Corey Imperato of Cardiff Blue Dragons are all set to make their Origin debuts.
East Wales player-coach Rob Davies said: “We were poor last weekend but I’ve stuck with largely the same squad, with seven new additions this week. I expect to see a big improvement.”
There are seven potential Origin debutants in Dean Scully’s 19-player West Wales squad. Hoping to win their first regional cap are Aberavon Fighting Irish’s Lewis Francis and Kieron John, Bridgend Blue Bulls’ Ben Jackson, Jacob Purcell, Dylan Rees-Davies and Dylan Thomas, plus Alex Burton of Cynon Valley Cavaliers. They will hope to lead their side to victory to create a winner-takes-all clash at Tata Steel on Sunday 10th September.
With West Wales opening their series this week, Scully, a former West Wales and Wales Dragonhearts capped himself, is looking forward to his side kicking off.
He said: “We have had better preparation and the number of players that have shown interest has been mind-blowing. We have had 60-plus players register an interest and train over the initial two sessions. This has proved both a selection headache and that the game is growing in the South West and Wales as a whole.
“East Wales will be battle-hardened and will have learned from their mistakes from last week but we go into the game with confidence after some promising talent showing in recent weeks. We know what quality the East players can bring and we will match fire with fire in what bodes to be a tough game. My team have jelled well and are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to take the field for our first game together. We will be led by Lloyd Allen who has been great so far, providing leadership and an engine to match.”
East Wales (from): Corey Imperato*, Nathan Tucker (both Cardiff Blue Dragons), Diezel Jones, Shane Kerby*, Craig Lewis, Ross Price* (all South Wales Jets), Iolo Bloom, Kian Parlour, Cody Rees (all South Wales Saints), Jermarie Chatham, Wes Cunliffe, Rob Davies, Kurtis Haile (c), Jamie Leech, Ian Manley, Darryl Moyle, Loukas Paraskeva, Max Roberts, Dai Thomas (all Torfaen Tigers).
West Wales (from): Lloyd Allen (c), David Felton, Lewis Francis*, Kieron John*, Jake Price (all Aberavon Fighting Irish), Ieuan Ace, Corey Harris, Ben Jackson*, Liam Jones, Lloyd Pritchard, Jacob Purcell*, Dylan Rees-Davies*, Stuart Robson, Dylan Thomas* (all Bridgend Blue Bulls), Lewys Blayney, Alex Burton* (Cynon Valley Cavaliers), Rhodri Garland, Jack Griffiths, Chris Harris (all Rhondda Outlaws)