RLWC2021: More NRL stars ruled out of World Cup

Josh McAllister

Wales are set to be without NRL centre Bradman Best for their RLWC2021 campaign, while Kalyn Ponga has ruled himself out of the tournament. 

Best, 21, was born in Australia but qualifies for the Dragons through the heritage rule.

He has made 45 appearance in the NRL, having made his debut in 2019 at the age of 18. He has crossed for 17 tries. 

Best was expected to be called into John Kear’s squad ahead of the tournament in England this autumn.

However, the Newcastle Knights centre looks set to miss the tournament entirely and miss out on the chance to represent Wales. 

Meanwhile, Kear will now also be without Regan Grace due to his move to French rugby union side Racing 92. The winger is also currently recovering from a season-ending ruptured Achilles.

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Kalyn Ponga out of RLWC2021

Queensland and Newcastle Knights full-back Ponga has ruled himself out of the World Cup with Australia. Instead, the 24-year-old wants to focus on pre-season training with his NRL club after a disappointing year.

The Knights captain has struggled with injuries in 2022, limited him to just 14 appearances. His side finished 14th in the NRL, having won just six games from 24.

He has told boss Mal Meninga that he is unavailable for the tournament.

“I understand the potential opportunities that may be missed by this decision. However, due to the year we have endured, I really want to commit on the upcoming pre-season,” Ponga told media Down Under.

“My focus will sit firmly with nailing pre-season from the start, and I believe this decision is in the best interest of myself and the Knights.”

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