Grace and Knowles named in Wales’ World Cup squad

St Helens trio Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles and Ben Morris have been named in John Kear’s Wales squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Grace and Knowles have enjoyed fantastic campaigns under Justin Holbrook at Saints, with the pair being nominated for the Young Player of the Year award, but they got pipped to the post by Wigan Warriors star Oliver Gildart.

New Salford Red Devils signing Gavin Bennion has been included in the squad, despite not even being in the initial 38-man train-on squad.

The other uncapped players are Halifax’s Chester Butler, who is the grandson of former Wales international Colin Dixon, and Josh Ralph, who plies his trade in the Queensland Cup for Tweed Head Seagulls.

Welsh regulars Ben Flower (Achilles), Jake Emmitt (elbow), Lloyd White (hamstring), Ollie Olds (ACL), Rhys Evans (shoulder), Calvin Wellington (hamstring), Daniel Brown (ACL) and Ant Walker (concussion) have all been ruled out through injury.

Gil Dudson, Larne Patrick and Dan Fleming have declared themselves unavailable for the tournament.

Salford star Craig Kopczak will captain the Dragons, with Workington Town’s Phil Joseph and London Broncos’ Elliot Kear as his assistants.

Wales 24-man squad: Courtney Davies, Steve Parry (Gloucestershire All Golds), Chester Butler (Halifax), Danny Ansell (Hunslet), Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions), Michael Channing, Ben Evans, Dalton Grant, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (London Broncos), Matty Barron (Newcastle Thunder), Joe Burke (Oldham), Gavin Bennion, Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Andrew Gay, Christiaan Roets (South Wales Ironmen), Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles, Ben Morris (St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Josh Ralph (Tweed Head Seagulls), Phil Joseph (Workington Town), Matty Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls).

Wales’ first game at the World Cup is a game against Papua New Guinea on Saturday 28 October.

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