St Helens quartet, including new signing, head to North Wales on loan

James Gordon
Wesley Bruines St Helens

Wesley Bruines alongside St Helens head coach Paul Wellens | Photo: St Helens RLFC

North Wales Crusaders have named four St Helens players in their squad to face Warrington in a pre-season friendly on Friday night.

New signing Wesley Bruines and youngsters Daniel Moss, Taylor Pemberton and Mckenzie Buckley are all set to line up at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The St Helens first team squad is currently in Australia preparing for the World Club Challenge against Penrith, and they play a pre-season challenge match against St George-Illawarra Dragons tomorrow.

Opportunities for youngsters to impress

Yorkshireman Bruines, 19, linked up with Saints ahead of the 2023 season after a stint in Australia, where he was helped in to the South Sydney Rabbitohs development squad by former England international Sam Burgess.

He turned out for Coffs Harbour Comets in Australia, continuing his development which has also seen him selected for Yorkshire Under 17s and the England Community Lions, having originally missed out on a Super League scholarship.

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Former Blackbrook half-back Dan Moss made his Super League debut against Castleford last season, despite combining his rugby career with work outside the sport. He scored five tries in 11 appearances for the club’s reserve side in 2022.

Hooker Pemberton, 19, made his debut in the same game against Castleford and also featured against Wakefield later in the season.

Ex-Thatto Heath prop Mckenzie Buckley featured against Castleford while also turning out for the club’s Under 19s side for much of last year, scoring five tries in 12 appearances, as well as turning out for the reserves on four occasions.

North Wales will face a youthful Warrington side in their final warm-up for the new League 1 season, which starts next weekend.

The Crusaders will take on relegated Dewsbury in their season opener.

Captain Callum Hazzard said: “We are obviously going up against Super League opposition. I’d imagine they are probably going to put quite a few young lads out, a bit of a mix and match team, but these are full time players who are fit, fast and strong.

“It will be great for us to see where we stand at the moment and what level we are at. We will be aiming to win it as we do with every game.”

Also in the North Wales squad for the game is former St Helens academy product Brad Billsborough, ex-Barrow centre Dec Hulme and Jamaica international prop Jordan Andrade.

Sprinkling of first team faces in Warrington squad

Warrington have just a handful of first team players in their squad, as they continue to prepare for the Super League opener against Leeds on February 16.

Prop Joe Bullock, who sat out the Ben Currie testimonial win over Leigh, is set for his run out, while backs Josh Thewlis and Greg Minikin will also feature after coming off the bench last week.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

North Wales squad: Abel, Holmes, Hulme, Massam, Gibbons, Billsborough, Hazzard, jinks, Andrade, Fletcher, Taylor, Brennan, Barratt, Costello, Rainford, Ellis, Morley-Samuels, Moss, Pemberton, Bruines, Buckley.

Warrington squad: Bajer, Booth, Bullock, Darbyshire, Doolan, Green, Hartill, Hayes, High, Holroyd, Lynch, Marshall, Minikin, Raughter, Reddecliff, Shingler, Jake Thewlis, Josh Thewlis, Tupaea, Tyrer, Whitehead.