Wales Wheelchair Rugby League head coach Stephen Jones has released an experienced 12-player train-on squad for the Rugby League World Cup, and warm-up fixtures against Ireland and Australia.
Fifty per-cent of the squad come from Wales’ largest club North Wales Crusaders, including captain Stuart Williams; and all bar three of the those selected in the train-on squad starred in the recent Celtic Cup win for Wales, where they won the trophy for the sixth time in succession.
Stephen Halsey and Martin Lane return from injury, which Wales’ record test points scorer Andrew Higgins will be back in Wales after being unavailable for the Celtic Cup triumph.
Most capped player Alan Caron, if selected, will be the only Wales player to have appeared in all three of their World Cup campaigns, the first being in 2013, whilst Higgins, along with Harry Jones, Gary Preece, Mark Williams and Stuart Williams, are veterans of the 2017 World Cup.
Wales will take on Ireland at Calderdale College in Halifax on Saturday 8 October (kick-off 2pm) and then Australia three weeks later in Cyncoed, Cardiff in the first ever Wheelchair international to take place in the South of Wales.
Wales’ Rugby League World Cup campaign then begins on Friday 4 November when they take on France at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield (kick-off 11am). The other group matches follow at the same venue, against USA on November 7 then Scotland on November 10.
Should Wales reach the World Cup Final on November 18 in Manchester, then this will be their 50th test match.
Jones said: “The match against Ireland is important preparation for us in our build-up for the Rugby League World Cup.
“If we go through this without any major injuries, then what we’ve named will be our squad for the World Cup tournament.
“We looked at a number of things when putting this squad together. They include form this season, attitude in training, performance in recent fixtures and the bond between others in the squad.
“This is a squad that not only I and the other staff have faith in, but it’s one who have faith in themselves. This is possibly the strongest team that we have ever been able to field.
“Since the last World Cup tournament in France in 2017, we’ve won 11 out of the 14 games we’ve played, which includes taking home four Celtic Cup trophies. We go into this World Cup in good form.
“This is a team that we all believe will play some great rugby, and we want to showcase to the world what we as a nation of have to offer. All of the squad not only want to just do themselves and us proud, but give their all to the nation of Wales.”
Wales Squad: (with shirt numbers for the autumn, and clubs (please click here for full profiles):
1 Stephen Halsey (North Wales Crusaders)
2 Scott Trigg-Turner (North Wales Crusaders)
3 Gary Preece (Hereford Harriers)
4 Mason Baker (North Wales Crusaders)
5 Jodie Boyd-Ward (Leeds Rhinos)
6 Andrew Higgins (Hereford Harriers)
7 Stuart Williams (North Wales Crusaders, captain)
8 Lucie Roberts (North Wales Crusaders)
9 Martin Lane (Hereford Harriers)
10 Mark Williams (Wigan Warriors)
11 Harry Jones (North Wales Crusaders)
12 Alan Caron (Hereford Harriers)