Wales Rugby League could have a new record test match cap holder by the end of this month.
The Welsh have named a 12-person squad for the Wheelchair Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament that will take place in Wrexham on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September. One of those is Alan Caron, who will beat the WRL caps record for one side by playing in Wales’ two group matches in the competition.
The Wales men’s team, whose appearances in the upcoming World 9s won’t add to their official caps total, have always held this particular record with Ian Watson, Jordan James and Rhys Williams currently jointly leading the way on 30 caps apiece.
But now Caron, 42, who currently plays for Hereford Harriers after starting out at North Wales Crusaders, is aiming to overtake them.
Heritage #1 for the Wales Wheelchair side, he has played in all but four of Wales’ 33 internationals since inception in 2012, missing just the 2014 Four Nations in Medway and one game in the 2016 tournament in Rochdale where he was rested following an injury.
Caron, who also plays and coaches Wheelchair Basketball, said: “It’s been a real honour to play for Wales for the last seven years. From playing in mine and Wales’ very first Wheelchair international match in 2012, right up to the end of this month, at the Tri-Nations on home ground in Wales, I’ve been proud to pull on the Welsh shirt and happy to have been selected for all of my 28 caps so far.”
There is just one potential new cap in the Wales squad with Richard Carver from Gravesend Dynamite looking to make his international debut in a tournament that was originally announced as a Four Nations. However Wales’ matches will now only be against Scotland and England, as Ireland have now announced that they are unable to send a side to Wrexham to take part.
The three sides will face each other on the Saturday with the top two facing off in Sunday’s final. The side who finished third in the pool will play a friendly match against Leyland Warriors Wheelchair RLFC on Sunday morning. Between the two Sunday matches, Wales Rugby League will host a taster session where the general public will be able to give Wheelchair Rugby League a try and be invited to take up the sport if they enjoy it.
Head coach Steve Jones said: “We are very proud to have been given the chance to host this year’s Tri-Nations tournament.
“We are going into it with in my opinion is the strongest Welsh squad we have ever fielded. It was a very hard decision to pick the 12 man squad out of all those who tried out this year, but the players I have chosen will bring a great mix of skills and abilities to the team.
“England and Scotland are both fielding strong teams, but I am hopeful that we will be able to beat both and take the title.”
WHEELCHAIR TRI-NATIONS (Plas Madoc Sports Centre, Wrexham)
Saturday 28th September
Wales v Scotland (1.15pm)
England v Wales (3pm)
England v Scotland (4.45pm)
Sunday 29th September
WHEELCHAIR FOUR NATIONS (Plas Madoc Sports Centre, Wrexham)
Third placed side v Leyland Warriors (11am)
WALES SQUAD: Stephen Halsey, Harry Jones, Lucie Roberts, Gary Taylor, Stuart Williams (captain) (All North Wales Crusaders), Alan Caron, Philip Davies, Andrew Higgins, Scotty Trigg-Turner, Mark Williams (all Hereford Harriers), Richard Carver, Jason Owens (both Gravesend Dynamite).