Wales announce PDRL World Cup squad

Wales Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) head coach Craig Fisher has released a 15-player squad for the upcoming PDRL World Cup.

PDRL is an adapted version of rugby league aimed at facilitating those with physical disabilities the opportunity to play. It is a nine-a-side running format of the game, and is both full contact and touch, based on disability which is signified by the colour of a player’s shorts.

The PDRL World Cup takes place in Warrington from Sunday 23 October with Wales, England, Australia and New Zealand taking on each other in a round robin format at Victoria Park, before the final takes place on Sunday 30 October at the Halliwell Jones Stadium following Samoa v France in the men’s Rugby League World Cup.

Eight of the Welsh squad play in the PDRL Super League, seven from WRL’s partners Salford Red Devils and three from this year’s PDRL Super League champions Leeds Rhinos, whilst five play the Mixed Ability Rugby game in South Wales (MARU), which has slightly different rules to PDRL.

Wales have been training for this competition for over a year and Fisher, along with all the players, are very much looking forward to the tournament.

“This is the first time that Wales will enter a PDRL team into a World Cup or indeed any international tournament,” Fisher says. “We have based our recruitment on a number of different sports, which has meant that we have had to coach and support many of the players as to how to play rugby league and teach them the nuances of PDRL.

“We have assembled a special group of individuals who are committed and ready to put their stamp on the tournament, and represent Wales in the same way that our athletes in other variants of rugby league have done – with pride, passion and an unwavering will to succeed.

“We have done as much homework on our opposition as we can and we understand the threats each team will pose to us. We just need to stick to our processes and work harder than they intend to on the day.

“Whatever the outcome, the Wales PRDL team will be ready and will entertain, and who knows, maybe, just maybe, we bring home a World Championship.

“Never underestimate an underdog.”

Wales will be competing in four different Rugby League World Cups this autumn. Wales begin their men’s World Cup campaign by taking on Cook Islands in Leigh on October 19. Four days later, their PDRL World Cup schedule starts with a game against New Zealand in Warrington. Then on November 4, Wales Wheelchair begin their World Cup when they take on France in Sheffield. Finally, on November 13 in York, Wales play in the Masters World Cup Festival, a tournament for those aged 35 and over.

WALES PDRL WORLD CUP SQUAD: Robert Carpenter (Cardiff Chiefs MARU), Dylan Hughes, Isaac Pickett, Chris Young (all Leeds Rhinos PDRL), Chris Spriggs (Llanelli Warriors MARU), Daniel Shaw (Pembrokeshire Vikings MARU), Nick Harris, Justin Martin (both Port Talbot Panthers MARU), Morgan Jones, Paul Jones, Tyma Hughes, Ben Lewis, Stewart Newton, Connor Rice, Leif Thobroe (all Salford Red Devils PDRL).

Full PDRL World Cup schedule:

Round 1, October 23, Victoria Park:

Wales v New Zealand – 2pm

England v Australia – 4.30pm

Round 2, October 25, Victoria Park

Wales v England – 2pm

Australia v New Zealand – 4.30pm

Round 3, October 28, Victoria Park

England v New Zealand – 5pm

Australia v Wales – 7.30pm

Finals, 30 October

Third place play-off – 2pm Victoria Park

Final – 7.30pm, Halliwell Jones Stadium