Wales Dragonhearts head coach Simon Reynolds has confirmed his 24-player squad for the match against England Lions U23 at Ruskin Drive, St Helens this Saturday (kick-off 1pm).
Watch the match on YouTube live here.
The Dragonhearts are the representative side of the community game in Wales and have been on hiatus since the pandemic, having last played a game in 2019.
The concept of a side selected from Welsh clubs only goes back to 1909 when a “Welsh League XIII” beat the touring Kangaroos side in Merthyr Tydfil. Matches against Italy and Wigan followed in 1951, before the concept was revived in the 1980s with “Wales Amateurs” who played their first international against England in 1994. Since then, the side has produced over 30 full Wales internationals, including this year’s men’s Rugby League World Cup captain Elliot Kear.
Initially a 32-player train-on squad was named. Following training sessions this month, eight have now been cut, leaving 24 where 17 will be selected on Saturday.
Of the squad selected, just eight have played for the Dragonhearts in previous years.
Reynolds said: “The selection process has been quite tough to be honest, you always go into camp with an idea of how you want the team to play and are looking for players to fit that bill, but on Sunday, so many players brought their A game.
“Speaking to the players, they know that if they have missed out this time, this isn’t the end. Wales Dragonhearts is a project that after this game looks into the next year and I’m confident that the majority of this squad will move forward and really get some continuity with regular sessions.”
DRAGONHEARTS SQUAD * Potential New Cap
Dylan Agar* (West) (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Lewys Blayney* (West) (Cynon Valley Cavaliers)
Jack Dacey* (West) (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Toby Davies* (North) (Flintshire Falcons)
David Felton* (West) (Black Dragons)
Billy Forrester* (North) (Flintshire Falcons)
Rhodri Garland* (East) (Rhondda Outlaws)
Ryan Griffiths (North) (Ince Rose Bridge)
Chris Harris* (East) (Rhondda Outlaws)
Dean Higgs (East) (Torfaen Tigers)
Mike Hurley (East) (Torfaen Tigers)
Morgan Johnson* (North) (Leeds Becket Uni)
Brandon Lamb* (East) (Bristol All Golds)
Aaron Lewis (West) (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Craig Lewis (East) (Torfaen Tigers)
Will Lynch* (North) (Leigh Miners Rangers)
Alfie Mathias (North) (Thatto Heath Crusaders)
Jake Price* (West) (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Jonny Rae (North) (Thatto Heath Crusaders)
Jake Spedding* (North) (Ulverston ARLFC)
Ben Stelmaszek (North) (Thatto Heath Crusaders)
Jonathan Stokes* (North) (Conwy Celts)
Nathan Tucker* (East) (Cardiff Blue Dragons)
Lewis Walsh* (West) (Cynon Valley Cavaliers)