Men’s squad named for World Cup opener

The 19-player squad for the Wales Men’s team opening game of Rugby League World Cup 2021 has been named.

John Kear’s side take on the Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village (7.30pm) in the first of three games in group D. The match is live on BBC2 from 7pm.

The squad named includes 14 of the matchday squad who faced France in June, including captain Elliot Kear, who will follow in the footsteps of classmate Sam Warburton in captaining his country at a World Cup.

Ollie Olds is among those who didn’t feature in France but are part of the squad to face Cook Islands. Olds retired from rugby league in June 2020 after a series of injuries, but was talked out of retirement by his brother earlier this year and returned to play.

Josh Ralph, Rhodri Lloyd, Dan Fleming and Caleb Aekins are the other men to be included who didn’t feature in the mid-season international.

The squad in full is:

1. Caleb Aekins
2. Rhys Williams
4. Will Evans
5. Dalton Grant
6. Elliot Kear (c)
7. Josh Ralph
8. Anthony Walker
9. Matty Fozard
10. Dan Fleming
11. Rhodri Lloyd
12. Chester Butler
13. Ben Evans
14. Ollie Olds
15. Curtis Davies
16. Joe Burke
17. Bailey Antrobus
18. Connor Davies
19. Mike Butt
21. Tom Hopkins

Tickets for the match are also still available, and can be bought at

Wales then face Tonga (Monday 24 October, St. Helens) and Papua New Guinea (Monday 31 October, Doncaster). The final two group games also kick-off at 7.30pm.

Men’s team principal sponsor