John Kear has confirmed Wales are speaking to a number of Welsh-eligible players from Super League and NRL over the possibility of representing them in the World Cup.
There are two players currently in the NRL with Welsh heritage who qualify to play for Kear’s side – Tyson Frizell and Bradman Best of Newcastle Knights.
Frizell was born in Australia to a Tongan mother and a Welsh father. He’s actually played for Wales before, six times in fact, and honoured his Welsh heritage in the 2013 World Cup.
Since then, he has gone on to win 14 caps for his country of birth Australia. The 30-year-old helped the Kangaroos win the 2017 World Cup and the Nines World Cup in 2019.
“We’ve touched base again with Tyson but Tyson is at a different place in his career now than he was in 2013,” Kear said.
“He was a young man then trying to make a name and he was happy to come over and play but now he is more established and more experienced. I think he’s perhaps looking at another nation in Green and Gold and trying to play in there and I understand that as well.”
Wales doing their Best
Meanwhile, Best was born in Australia and is of Welsh descent. He has already made almost 50 appearances in the NRL despite him only being 20 years of age.
Best has yet to make his international debut. But Kear says the centre is keen on the idea of representing his Welsh heritage at the World Cup.
“We could be strengthened in regards to that,” Kear said.
“I want it to be lads who are playing regularly (for Wales) who form the core of the group. I don’t just want the incomings once every four years, I want it to be a side that is developing with a group of Welsh-born fellas and we’ve got that and I’m very proud of that.”
Wales in talks with Wigan half-back Harry Smith
Wales have also made contact with Wigan half-back Harry Smith, who qualifies to play for Wales through his grandfather, who is from Cardiff.
Kear says the England Knights international is targeting a place in Shaun Wane’s England squad. However, Wales would happily take him if he didn’t make the England squad.
“Harry is hoping to turn Shaun Wane’s head and with Shaun being involved with Wigan he is in a great place to do that,” Kear said.
“He has had a very busy last couple of weeks for obvious reasons, one making the match-winning try at Tottenham! We are in touch and I’ll continue to be in touch and he’ll get sick of me being in touch!
“He isn’t picked for England then we would absolutely welcome him because he is a quality rugby league player. He has Welsh heritage. We would be doing nothing wrong in acquiring a really good player should he not be selected for England. But yes, we’ll be knocking on his door if he isn’t in the England squad.”