Ahead of their second international match of the season, against England Lions U23 this Saturday in St Helens, Wales Dragonhearts’ heritage numbers have been released.
The numbers include all players who have turned out for the Wales Dragonhearts or Wales A, as they were previously known, against other international opposition.
The first proper international match for Wales A was against an England amateur U23 side in 1994, the outfit that has now evolved into the opposition Wales Dragonhearts are facing twice this month.
Not included are friendly matches against regional or club sides, nor the early “Wales Club XIII” games, when they faced and beat the Australian Kangaroos in 1909 and Italy in 1950 as they were semi-professional organisations in a different era.
Following last Saturday’s win against Ireland Wolfhounds, the number of players on this list has topped 400 with the magic number given to Conor O’Callaghan who played in the second row in that game.
Heritage number 1 has been awarded to Ioan Bebb, full-back in that first international game in 1994, who later played professionally with South Wales RLFC and also brought current Wales international Connor and Curtis Davies through the junior rugby league ranks at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera.
He is one of many who turned out for the Dragonhearts before turning professional with no less than 25 playing for this side before winning full Wales caps.
Two of them were from that very first side, Jason Lee (Dragonhearts heritage #5) who played professionally for Warrington and Dave Williams (13) who played for South Wales.
Other full international players’ heritage numbers to note are current Wales men’s skipper Elliot Kear (222), the combined Wales sides’ most capped player Christiaan Roets (189), Dragonhearts’ most capped player Paul Emannuelli (206), and the side’s current assistant coach Dean Scully, who is the second most capped Dragonhearts player (121).
Paul Whapham, the current CEO of Hockey Wales (130), and Richard Hibbard, who went on to win 38 caps for Wales in rugby union and three for the British and Irish Lions (131) made their debuts in consecutive matches in 2003, whilst former World Darts Champion Gerwyn Price (301) played in his only Dragonhearts international in 2013.
Finally, we have to remember the two Dragonhearts international players we’ve sadly lost – Paul Morgan (157) and Scott Bessant (217).