We take on England in an exciting double header at Ruskin Drive, St Helens this Saturday as our Dragonhearts and PDRL sides take to the field.
First up at 12.30pm is the community international – England Lions U23 v Wales Dragonhearts, as we look to avenge losses in the last couple of encounters in recent years.
However, whilst last year’s match was Dragonhearts’ only game of the year, this year, they go into the meeting full of confidence after a hard-fought win over Ireland in Dublin last Saturday.
Head coach Simon Reynolds won’t be naming his team until Friday evening and will be announced publicly on the day of the game. Talking after the Ireland victory, he said: “It’ll be a totally different battle against England. We’ll be up against players who have been involved in rugby league for a number of years, but our boys are ready for that fight. We’ll do some work this week on England but I know they’ve been training for a number of months now, so we’ll focus on ourselves, fix up anything that went wrong and go into the England game with a bit of confidence.”
England Lions U23, who have already named their squad, could field four players who turned out for the U18s against Wales last season.
The second game of the day, which will be played at 2.30pm, England host Wales in Physical Disability Rugby League, and Wales interim coach David Jones has already named his line-up for what is an 11-a-side match in this version of the sport.
It’s the second match of two between the two sides this season and only injuries have forced Jones into making two changes from the side who were narrowly beaten in Llandovery last month with Chris Spriggs and debutant Eric Horridge replacing Daniel Shaw and Richard Ellis Thomas.
Jones said: “We go into Saturday’s game without a couple of key players due to injury, but we are really looking forward to the occasion. I know the players I have available will give the shirt one hundred percent.
“I think England were a little shocked when we played them in September in South Wales. We gave them a good run for their money despite having a player sent off in the first half. With a little more composure with our plays, the game could have gone either way and hopefully we can even things up on Saturday.”
Dragonhearts (from): Lloyd Allen, Dai Felton, Lewis Francis, Tyler Hopkins, Aaron Lewis, Dylan McLachlan, Conor O’Callagan, Jake Price, Scott Whitlock, Iestyn Williams (all Aberavon Fighting Irish/West Wales), Corey Harris, Ben Jackson, Lloyd Pritchard*, Dylan Rees-Davies (all Bridgend Blue Bulls/West Wales), Brandon Lamb (Bristol All Golds/North Wales), Sion Jones*, Jonny Stokes, Kieran Thomas (all Conwy Celts/North Wales), Lewys Blayney*, Alex Burton (both Cynon Valley Cavaliers/West Wales), Aidyn Jones*, Alfie Matthias (Flintshire Falcons/North Wales), Rhodri Garland, Jack Griffiths*, Chris Harris (all Rhondda Outlaws/West Wales), Craig Lewis, Ross Price (both South Wales Jets), Kurtis Haile, Nathan Tucker (both Torfaen Tigers/East Wales), Jake Spedding (Ulverston/North Wales)
PDRL side: Morgan Jones (Salford Red Devils), Chris Young (Leeds Rhinos), Stewart Newton (Salford Red Devils), Dylan Hughes (Leeds Rhinos), Leif Thobroe (unattached), Kieran Gardner (Salford Red Devils), Sam Bowditch (Salford Red Devils), Chris Spriggs (Llanelli Warriors MARU), Isaac Pickett (Leeds Rhinos), Paul Jones (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Tyma Hughes (Salford Red Devils). Subs: Gareth Sullivan (unattached), Eric Horridge (Llanelli Warriors MARU)*.