Ireland coach Andy Kelly has targeted a place in the rugbyleague.com European Cup Final but knows that the heat will be on when his team battle it out with Wales in the winner-take-all Pool 2 clash in Pontypridd on Sunday (kick off 5pm).
Kelly believes that Wales will have the advantage with them playing on home soil in the Sky Sports-televised clash, which will see the victors meet the winners of the Scotland v Lebanon Pool 1 encounter, on Finals Day at Brewery Field, Bridgend, on Sunday November 8th.
“There’s some pressure on both teams, we want top spot and getting into the European Cup Final is the main focal point” Kelly said. “Preparations are going really well, we’ve got a couple of injury worries from the Serbia game but I’m hopeful they’ll all come through.”
“Wales are a bit like us, we’re not looking at names in their team we’re looking at how they work. They are all about team ethic first and foremost. They certainly showed a lot of character against England and we expect a tough encounter.”
“I’m hoping for a big performance from our half-backs and hooker” he added. “I’m expecting a big game from Bob Beswick who is a very experienced player and direction from our midfield trio of Steve Gibbons, Liam Finn and James Coyle.”
“Our squad is made up of good professional Rugby League players as well as a number from the burgeoning Irish domestic competition such as Brendan Guilfoyle, Stevie Gibbons and Paddy Barcoe.”
“It’s a big positive for us to have six of the home-produced lads in and around the squad and a real pleasure to see them becoming more accomplished at the sport. That and further strengthening the code in the Emerald Isle are major goals as we build up to the next World Cup. ”