Wales to host Serbia in Llanelli

Wales will take on Serbia at Parc Stebonheath in Llanelli for the World Cup qualifier on Saturday October 15.

It will be the first time that the south west Welsh town has hosted a rugby league international for 16 years, with the last game there being against Lebanon in the 2000 World Cup.

Wales coach John Kear is looking forward to Wales taking on what is likely to be a strong Serbia team.

“It’s exciting that we’re going to south west Wales,” he said.

“It’s an area we’ve not played in since the last World Cup in 2013 when we took on Cook Islands in Neath.

“I’m anticipating support and enthusiasm from all the sports fans around the area and I’m sure it will be well attended.

“It’s a big game for us as we need to get to the World Cup, there’s no doubt about that. It’s now getting to knock out proportions so every game is very important.

“Serbia are looking to strengthen and that’s why they played their recent international match against the Philippines in Australia through that. Brian Smith is with them too and he’ll make sure they will be well drilled. They will be a formidable challenge for us.”

 At least 15 Wales rugby league internationals have been born in Llanelli, while 46 players who have turned out for Llanelli RUFC or the Scarlets have played rugby league for Wales.

Wales Rugby League chairman Brian Juliff is keen to mark the town’s long connection with the 13-man code.

“I am thrilled that we are playing this game in Llanelli as it presents us with a great opportunity to pay tribute to the outstanding heritage players that originated from West Wales,” he said.

“Supporting Andrew Thorne and his team of administrators and players as they continue to develop rugby league in the region is a real pleasure, as I am fully aware of the huge amount of hard work and enthusiasm these volunteers bring to Wales Rugby League.

Wales are the current European Rugby League Champions but we are very aware of the changing playing personnel that we will face in both qualifying games against Serbia and Italy due to our opponents’ intentions to field Australian based heritage players.

“We will, of course, stay strong to our belief that playing home grown players will continue to pay long term dividends and promote a sustainable and successful Wales Rugby League team.

“On that basis alone it would be hugely encouraging if our local supporters could fill the stadium and cheer our boys to success in this important first game. Cymru Am Byth!”

Tickets for Wales v Serbia at Parc Stebonheath in Llanelli on Saturday 15th October will be on sale from April.

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