Wales debut delayed for Leigh star Caleb Aekins

Caleb Aekins Leigh Centurions SWpix
Photo: Allan McKenzie / SWpix

Leigh’s in-form full-back Caleb Aekins will not make his international debut for Wales against France this weekend, Love Rugby League understands.

The 24-year-old was one of 15 uncapped players in the Wales squad which coach John Kear announced last week.

Aekins was born and raised in New Zealand but qualifies to play for Wales through his mother, who hails from Barry Island.

The Leigh man is still likely to play at the World Cup, but Love Rugby League understands he won’t be part of the Welsh side that takes on France in Albi this weekend.

Speaking to Love Rugby League back in March, Aekins said: “My mum’s Welsh. I went over to Wales when I was around 10 to spend some time over there. I actually went back over to Wales last week.

“We had a couple of days off so I went back and seen all the family got to know them all again really.

“I can’t remember much from when I was 10 so it was good to go see them all. It all means a bit more now playing for Wales.

“I’m looking forward to putting on the Welsh jersey if it comes about and representing my family.

“It would be everything to my mum. My grandfather as well, he was a proud Welshman, he was the one who took us over. He passed away a few years ago but I know it would mean everything to him. He would be proud.”

Sunday will mark Wales’ first international game since they beat Ireland in November 2018. There has been a lack of international matches due to the pandemic.

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Wales could have 14 debutants despite Caleb Aekins absence

Leigh will still be represented by Wales this weekend though, with young centre Luis Roberts in line to make his international debut having represented his heritage at youth level.

Kear could potentially hand out 14 debuts against France. York’s recent recruit Bailey Antrobus has won a call-up as he targets a World Cup spot.

Will Evans (Whitehaven), Jude Ferreira (London Broncos), Cobi Green (Rochdale), Tom Hopkins (Barrow), Kyle Huish (Wigan), Lewis Hulme (Widnes), Paddy Jones (Swinton), Kieran Lewis (West Wales), Lewis Pinder (Wigan), Owen Restall (Oldham), David Weetman (Workington), Calvin Wellington (Oldham) are the other uncapped players in Kear’s squad.

St Helens winger Regan Grace is not included in the Wales squad having only recently returned to action following injury. Catalans Dragons prop Gil Dudson is not available for the mid-season international.

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About Drew Darbyshire 8035 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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