Wales have named an 19-man squad for the Masters International Festival at Bethesda RUFC on Saturday 14 May.

The Welsh will take on Ireland and England in the three-team one-day festival. Each match will be 20 minutes long, with Wales taking on Ireland first at 2pm. England v Ireland follows at 2.25pm with Wales v England completing the day at 2.50pm.

Masters Rugby League is played by people aged 35 and over with the rules being slightly modified to cater for the older player. Historically, there have been no winners, no champions, and no cup finals and every match ends with a 0-0 scoreline, no matter how many tries are scored – Masters is all about the spirit of the game. The most important rule is: “everyone has to buy a drink for their opposite number!”

All players have been selected from sides who play regular club games on the Masters Rugby League circuit. Fifteen of last year’s squad retain their places for this festival, with four newcomers. Two of them are from the Cardiff Blue Dragons club – former Wales Dragonhearts international Kyle Blake, and Russell Gardner, who played rugby union for Cardiff in the 1980s. Joining them is the current Wales Wheelchair team manager Mark Andrew Jones, who plays Master Rugby League for Chester Gladiators, and Lee Woodworth of North Wales Buccaneers, who was originally named in the 2021 side but had to withdraw due to illness.

Wales Masters event organiser Ryan Roberts, who is also a player in the side, says: “The inaugural Masters Rugby League tri-nations was first proposed and planned for 2020, but unfortunately, as we all recall, Covid decided to scupper any and all hopes we had of running the event. So after a few postponements, we are finally here.

“Following the creation of North Wales Buccaneers and Cardiff Blue Dragons, we came together and worked with the Wales Rugby League to set up the first-ever Wales Masters team. This team debuted in November 2021 at the World Festival at Leigh. The event was a huge success and the camaraderie and teamwork shown by all showed that Masters Rugby League is strong and growing fast in Wales.

“We’re all looking forward to what will be an excellent day in Bethesda, highlighting the Masters spirit to a new area where hopefully Masters Rugby League will grow.

“Once the games are over the real serious stuff begins where in true Masters spirit all teams, family and friends will get together around a few beverages and celebrate a great day in sunny (hopefully) north-west Wales.”

Admission to Bethesda for the day is free of charge with programmes on sale for £3. If you’re unable to make the event, there will be live reports on GTFM’s “The Season Ticket” radio show, which can be heard at www.gtfm.co.uk or on TuneIn Radio and smart speakers.

If you want to play Masters Rugby League, please send an email to masters@rugbyleague.wales stating your location for more information on your local club.

More at Masters Rugby League at https://rugbyleague.wales/about-wales-masters-rl

WALES SQUAD: Gareth Evans (Arlecdon Rams), Wayne Bridges (Blackpool), Kyle Blake, Idris Evans, Russ Gardner, Alf Harvey, Jamie Iles, Chris Stiles, Chris Thomas, Martyn Williams (all Cardiff Blue Dragons), Mark Andrew Jones (Chester Gladiators), Rob Ashworth, Dave Burns, David Gray, Robert Gray-Williams, Jay Harding, Chris Rich, Ryan Roberts, Lee Woodworth (all North Wales Buccaneers).

Timetable:
1:40pm – March on by the Welsh Guards followed by all 3 national anthems.
2pm – Wales V Ireland
2.25pm – Ireland V England
2.50pm – Wales V England
3.15pm – Team photos

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