The RFL Championship kicked off this weekend with mixed results for our Welsh international players.
Widnes Vikings, coach by John Kear, had an excellent 19-12 win away at York City Knights. Matty Fozard and Ant Walker both came off the bench for Widnes with Bailey Antrobus starting for York.
Josh Ralph had a winning start to his new club Toulouse Olympique as he scored the final try in the game when they won 24-4 away at Barrow Raiders. Ben Evans came off the bench for his Barrow debut.
Caleb Aekins echoed Ralph’s performance as his try on his Featherstone Rovers debut helped his side to a 50-0 win at Keighley Cougars. Former Wales captain Craig Kopczak played off the bench for Rovers.
Chester Butler was also on the scoresheet, this one the opening try of the game, as Bradford Bulls beat Whitehaven 24-8.
There was also a winning start for Curtis Davies as his Newcastle Thunder side won 18-6 at Swinton Lions. The home side fielded four Welsh internationals in Rhodri Lloyd, Mike Butt, Gavin Bennion and Ollie Olds, the latter playing his first game in the English leagues in a decade having recently returned from Australia.
Finally, Dalton Grant was on the losing side for London Broncos as his team went down 30-20 at home to Batley Bulldogs.
Captain Charlie Glover is one of nine Welsh players in the @SalfordDevils under 18s squad this weekend.
— Wales Rugby League (@WalesRugbyL) February 3, 2023
There were a magnificent 16 players in action for three Salford Red Devils sides in friendly matches, mostly thanks to Wales Rugby League’s partnership with the Super League club. Rhys Williams was in the first team as they went down 32-4 to Wigan Warriors in the Sam Powell testimonial match. Hunslet’s first team saw off the Salford Reserves winning 44-18. Billy Walkley, Jacob Lee, Finley Yates, Rhys Davies, Scott Pritchard and Keiran Lewis were in the Salford side and another former WRL community junior Fraser Stroud was in the Hunslet line-up. The U18s also lost to Wigan, with Charlie Glover captaining the side. Also playing were Oliver Ford, Carter Barnes, Jayden Grey, Calum Jones, Will McCarthy, Lewis Jones and Connor Lacey
In the other friendly matches last weekend, Gil Dudson was in action for Warrington Wolves and Luis Roberts for Leeds Rhinos. Cornwall and London Skolars also faced each other in a behind closed doors friendly in Bristol with former West Wales Raiders players on each side – former Wales junior internationals Harry Boots (Cornwall) and Shane Lee (London) playing against each other for the first time.