Phil Joseph joins Wales’ Super League contingent

Widnes utility forward Phil Joseph has been called up for Wales by coach John Kear, joining his team-mate, and Wales captain, Lloyd White in the squad.

As well as Wigan’s Ben Flower, there are Super League players from St Helens, Huddersfield and Castleford included.

Twelve of the players have come through the South Wales rugby league academy sides over the last 10 years. Thirteen of the squad were born in Wales.

“We’ve gone for a blend of youth and experience this year,” said Kear.

“Some players have been rewarded for their efforts last year which is a big positive, but we are looking to be successful in this competition hence the recall of established Super League players who took a break last year following the World Cup.

“The squad is testament to the quality of player in Wales that are home-grown and have been brought through the academy systems.

Lloyd White, who will be a pivotal player for us, started off down at Cardiff Demons and Newport Titans in South Wales, and Ben Flower was a youngster at Cardiff too.

“They, along with Craig Kopczak should be our first choice front row and are now old Super League heads. I expect them to be leaders within the group to set the right standards and move the team forward.

“Then we have up and coming players at Super League clubs like Regan Grace and Morgan Knowles who have done so well at St Helens in their academy this year.

“They will have a great opportunity to mix and get a feel for the Welsh camp. Lads like them will be the mainstay Welsh squad for many years to come.

“Regan, and his team mate Calvin Wellington, who is sadly injured and ruled out for the tournament, came to Saints recently after being in the South Wales AASE Rugby League Academy and I know there are more like them in the pipeline in South Wales.

“We’ve had an extended player resource to choose from this year so it’s been a tough choice. Last year was a rebirth, this year we will compete well.”

WALES SQUAD (in order of club)
Daniel Fleming (Bradford Bulls), Michael Channing (Castleford Tigers), Dalton Grant (Dewsbury Rams), Courtney Davies, Jamie Murphy, Steve Parry, Lewis Reece (all Gloucestershire All Golds), Craig Kopzcak (Huddersfield Giants), Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (both London Broncos), Matty Barron, Ricky Hough (both Newcastle Thunder), Joe Burke, Rob Massam, Christiaan Roets (all North Wales Crusaders), Ollie Olds (South’s Logan Magpies, Australia), Matty Fozard, Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles, Anthony Walker (all St Helens), Phil Joseph, Lloyd White (both Widnes Vikings), Ben Flower, Rhodri Lloyd (both Wigan Warriors).

Wales have rested the squad number 6 for this tournament out of a mark of respect for their former team mate Danny Jones who died earlier this year. Jones will be remembered in a testimonial game played between his final club Keighley Cougars and Wales on Sunday 25th October at Cougar Park.

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