Wales boss John Kear will utilise their game against Cumbria, Kyle Amor’s testimonial, to give opportunities to players to stake a claim for inclusion when competitive games come around next term.
Of the 20 men that he’s selected for the Chairman’s XIII fixture next Friday (October 13), only eight were involved in last year’s World Cup, which saw the Dragons exit at the group stage having lost all three of their fixtures.
As well as forming part of Super League stalwart Amor’s testimonial celebrations, the end-of-season friendly clash held at Whitehaven’s LEL arena with a 7.30pm (BST) kick-off scheduled will also be used by Wales to recognise the contribution of Brian Juliff.
Former Widnes, Wakefield, Wigan, Halifax and Castleford ace Juliff – who also coached Rochdale Hornets for a brief period – opted to end an 11-year stint in his role as Chairman of the WRL in August.
John Kear names Wales squad for Cumbria clash
Castleford-born Dragons head coach Kear – who hasn’t found a new role at club level yet following his departure from Widnes earlier in the year – has been in charge of the national side since 2014.
In his squad for the clash with Cumbria, he names long-serving prop Dan Fleming. The 31-year-old will retire following the game having made 12 official appearances for Wales. Fleming, and all of the others who feature, won’t receive a cap for the fixture at Haven.
One man who isn’t likely to feature is Featherstone Rovers star Caleb Aekins. He’s been named in the 20-strong pack, but if Featherstone progress on into the Championship play-off final as they’re expected to do with victory over London Broncos, then he will be required for club over country.
Head coach Kear said: “It’s great that this game allows us to recognise the contributions of both Brian and Kyle, and it’s one we’re looking forward to playing in.
“There are some young players who will get the opportunity to show what they can do as we look ahead to full international fixtures next season.”
Ahead of his testimonial, in an exclusive interview with Love Rugby League, Whitehaven-born Amor told us he believed a West Cumbrian franchise club was needed to help the game expand.
The full Wales squad for next Friday’s game can be seen below, with the club’s they featured for in 2023 listed. Note that for some, these clubs will be different come 2024.
Wales’ 20-man pack for Kyle Amor’s testimonial
Caleb Aekins* – Featherstone Rovers (Champ)
Sam Bowring – Midlands Hurricanes (L1)
Max Clarke – Bradford Bulls (Champ)
Connor Davies – Dewsbury Rams (L1)
Curtis Davies – Newcastle Thunder (Champ)
Jude Ferreira – Hull FC (SL)
Dan Fleming – Halifax Panthers (Champ)
Matty Fozard – Widnes Vikings (Champ)
Charlie Glover – Salford Red Devils (SL)
Kyle Huish – Rochdale Hornets (L1)
Elliot Kear – Batley Bulldogs (Champ)
Josh Lynch – Warrington Wolves (SL)
Owen Restall – Dewsbury Rams (L1)
Matt Ross – London Skolars (L1)
Ben Sheils – Sheffield Eagles (Champ)
Luke Thomas – Warrington Wolves (SL)
Ant Walker – Widnes Vikings (Champ)
Billy Walkley – Salford Red Devils (SL)
Calvin Wellington – Rochdale Hornets (L1)
Huw Worthington – Unattached
*Pending outcome of Featherstone’s play-off fixture this weekend.