Homegrown Welsh talent makes Kear purr with pride

Wales coach John Kear is very proud of the way the team has improved during his time in charge, and he is loving working with so many Welsh-born and bred players.

The Welsh team won the European Championship at the end of 2015, with the majority of the team hailing from Wales itself.

Kear thinks that more people should be taking a look in the Principality for talent.

“You do see talent that you wouldn’t normally perhaps see,” he told Love Rugby League.

“To tell you the truth, I think everybody in the game would be surprised at the talent within Wales.

“There is a player pathway, there is junior development going on in Wales.

“The governing body is important for that, because that gives us a big pool of players.

“We drew on that, unsuccessfully, in the first year I was coach, but what it did was expose players to that environment.

“Those players then improved drastically over the following season, and when we got them back, with one or two personnel changes and a bit more experience around like Phil Joseph and Craig Kopczak, that experience and that development really produced an outstanding squad.

“We won three from three.”

Kear feels pride in his work with Wales, and also that it is task with which he must persevere, because the potential rewards for rugby league are so great.

“What’s exciting is that Wales are a proper international team,” he added.

“It struck me when we played Ireland. The guy in the hotel in Ireland said he could tell we were the Welsh team, but he couldn’t tell who was the Irish team.

“I took that as a compliment. It was all about Welsh accents, Welsh kids and people who have been born and brought up in Wales.

“Out of our squad of 17, I think we had 13 or 14 from Wales.

“That made me very proud, and that it’s a job well worth doing in the international sphere to help develop that, and nurture it.”

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