In our latest feature ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2021 with members of the elite train-on squad, we catch up with Toulouse Olympique XIII forward Ben Evans.
Before earning the first of his ten caps for Wales so far at senior level, Ben had featured for his country at both U16s and U19s level.
The 27-year-old was a try-scorer for Brynteg Comprehensive in their Year 7 Final win at the Millennium Stadium back in 2005, winning the Chev Walker Medal for player of the match.
Ben and his family, including twin brother and fellow Wales international Rhys Evans, moved north and he was picked up by Super League club Warrington Wolves, progressing through the academy system.
After breaking into the first-team at Warrington, he spent some time out on loan at the likes of Bradford Bulls, Leigh Centurions and Rochdale Hornets.
Ahead of the 2017 season, Ben opted for a switch to the English capital and joined London Broncos, playing a key role in the club’s promotion against-the-odds to Super League in 2018.
The forward was then offered the opportunity to ply his trade out in France, signing terms with Toulouse for 2019, and he has been turning out for them since.
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the Championship campaign to a halt, though, Ben hasn’t featured in a rugby league match since March.
“It’s been a weird year for everyone,” Ben said.
“I came back from Toulouse in March, thinking it was going to be a week or two, but I’ve been here since.
“I’m missing it. I’ve spoken to a few of the boys and we just want to get going again, especially with watching Super League every week.”
While the forward can’t wait to get back in action with his club side, he also has his sights set on the World Cup with Wales.
Ben said: “I always look forward to the Wales games and I was really excited when the fixture list came out for the European Championship this year, but that’s obviously not going ahead now.
“I thought we had a good group and it could’ve been a good competition leading into the World Cup.
“We did well in the 2018 European Championship, only losing one game, and we could’ve really built on the back of that.
“Every country’s in the same position so it’s not like anybody’s got an advantage over us having played more games.
“There’s probably at least half of the squad that will be available for the next World Cup after this and that’s really encouraging.
“It’s really exciting for Wales Rugby League. We’ll have some players going into their first World Cup and they’ll no doubt be a lot wiser for the next one.
“There’s some tough teams in our group so being in the UK hopefully might make a difference.
“We played against Papua New Guinea in the last World Cup and Cook Islands in the one before that so we know what they’re about.
“I know all the lads will be raring to go come the World Cup next year.”
Ben Evans’ Wales stats
- Caps: 10
- Matches won: 2, matches lost: 8
- Tries: 3, points: 12