Wales Wheelchair Rugby League have named their squad who will travel to the World Cup in France which starts this Thursday when they face Australia in Carcassonne.
The squad is primarily made up of North Wales Crusaders players, the only exception being Gary Preece from Hereford Harriers.
Wales have prepared well for the World Cup having recently won the Celtic Cup and their team manager Mark Andrew Jones believes that they can make an impact, as they look to improve on their third place finish back in 2013.
Jones said: “Wales Wheelchair Rugby League have been rebuilding over the four years of my tenure. We have gone from fourth place in the Home Nations to second and although underdogs are now seen as a threat to the stronger national teams.
“Wales won the Celtic Cup in 2017 beating Scotland and Ireland convincingly and winning the cup for the second year running. In 2016 Wales finished second in the Four Nations Tournament held in Rochdale.
“We travel to the World Cup in confident mood. The players have all self-funded travel and participation in the Celtic Cup and World Cup competitions in 2017.
“Some players have been fortunate enough to attract personal sponsorship and the team has had fantastic support from DAG Engineering, North Wales Crusaders Supporters Club, Offa Community Council, (Ginger) Mike Hughes and a number of other individual donations.
“However we have no major sponsor and finances have been hard, some players cannot travel due to work commitments and financial constraints, but those travelling will proudly pull on the red shirt and yell ‘CYMRU’ before facing Australia, France and England in the Pool stages.
“We may be underdogs, but we will fight to do Wales proud.”
Wheelchair Rugby League is played as five-a-side but is as similar to running rugby league as possible. The game is played with an oval ball unlike the ‘Wheelchair Rugby’ that was seen in the Olympics.
Tries are scored by placing the ball down on or over the line and there are even conversions and drop goals, all done with the players’ hands. It makes for an exciting sport that is enjoyed by many.
WALES: Mark Williams (Captain), Alan Caron, Claire Cranston, John Doyle, Andrew Higgins, Harry Jones, Gary Taylor, Stuart Williams (all North Wales Crusaders), Gary Preece (Hereford Harriers).
Head Coach: Steve Jones (NWC), Team Manager: Mark A Jones (NWC)
WORLD CUP GROUPS
FIXTURES – all kick-offs local time CET
20th July Carcassonne – Wales v Australia 14.00, Scotland v Italy 16.30, France v England 20.00
22th July Pamiers – Wales v England 14.00, Spain v Italy 16.30 France v Australia 20.45
24th July St Jory – Scotland v Spain 14.00, France v Wales 16.30, England v Australia 19.00
25th July Albi – 3rd Pool 1 v 2nd Pool 2, 4th Pool 1 v 1st Pool 2
26th July Toulouse – Semi-finals
27th July St Oren – Ranking matches
28th July Perpignan – Final