Wales Dragonhearts head coach Ian Newbury has named a 20-man travelling squad for their third match of the Motorplus Autumn Series, an away game against England Lions U23 at Pilkington Recs in St Helens on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).
The representative side of the community game in Wales are unbeaten so far in 2019 thanks to wins over Southern England Lionhearts and Lithuania, but they know that this will be their toughest test yet.
This match officially celebrates 25 years of community internationals from Wales, the first being a 14-10 defeat to England on Sunday 27th March 1994 at Morfa Stadium in Swansea. Following that game, Welshman Jason Lee was promptly signed by Warrington and ended up playing seven times for the full Welsh national side, whilst David Williams, also in first side, played twice for Wales against USA in 1995 and also played professionally for South Wales RLFC in 1996.
Since then, the number of players to have turned out for both the Wales Dragonhearts and the full Wales men’s side has reached 29, which includes current Wales men’s captain Elliot Kear.
Wales take on England Lions U23 as the senior England Lions side have been touring New Zealand but coach Newbury still knows they’ll be a threat following their 26-14 win against Ireland’s domestic representative side last Saturday.
He said: “We are sitting two from two this autumn, but we are under no illusions that this is a big step up this week. We showed signs on Sunday of everyone clicking together, but there were still moments of individual errors that we need to overcome if we want to be successful this Saturday.
“It says something for the development and strength of the game in Wales how this squad is performing and I’m excited to test out that against the yardstick of the old enemy on Saturday.”
Newbury has made six changes in his 17 with Liam Silver in line for his Dragonhearts debut. Geoffrey Hick, Gareth Howells, Luca Owen-Youens, Ben Stelmaszek and Wesley Cunliffe return.
The match, the first in a double header with England Lions taking on Wales Women in the later game at 4pm, will be streamed live on OuRLeague.
7 Geoffrey Hick (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
2 Kurtis Haille (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
3 Liam Watton (Valley Cougars, East Wales)
27 Gareth Howells (Bridgend Blue Bulls, West Wales)
5 Liam Silver (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
6 Ben Jones (Valley Cougars, West Wales)
23 Shane Lee (Valley Cougars, West Wales)
18 Luca Owen-Youens (North Wales Crusaders A, North Wales Origin)
9 Dean Higgs (Valley Cougars, East Wales)
17 Tom Matthews (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
10 Ben Stelmaszek (Thatto Heath Crusaders, North Wales Origin)
12 Craig Lewis (Valley Cougars, East Wales)
13 Mike Hurley (Valley Cougars, East Wales)
14 Grant Harrington (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
19 Darrel Moyle (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
21 Paul Welch (North Wales Crusaders A, North Wales Origin)
11 Wesley Cunliffe (Torfaen Tigers, East Wales)
8 Shaun Watton (Rhondda Outlaws, East Wales)
1 Jonah Huntley (Rhondda Outlaws, West Wales)
25 Corey Harris (Bridgend Blue Bulls, West Wales)