Wales won’t play mid-season international

Wales will not play a men’s international this summer, coach John Kear has confirmed.

While the Principality’s womens and wheelchair sides will face England in June, the men will instead focus on the end of season World Cup, with the hope of arranging a game prior to the tournament kick-off.

They will be based in Preston during the World Cup and start the tournament against Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village on October 27.

Kear said: “We feel the best option from a performance perspective is not to take part in an international match this summer.

“For some of our squad playing in the Championship and League 1, this is the first time they’ve played for the best part of 12 months and they’ll already have a congested fixture calendar with their clubs.

“We don’t want to put them in a position where they’re possibly having to play for their club and country in such a short space of time.

“Some of our players are also based oversees and there’s still so much uncertainty about travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re looking at an international shortly before the World Cup starts and planning some opportunities where we can get together during the season. We’re regularly in contact with all our squad anyhow.

“We feel this is a far better option because we’ll be able to take a better look at all our squad, no matter where they’re currently playing in the world, and how we’re shaping up ahead of the tournament.

“The World Cup is another fantastic opportunity for us to build on the progress we’ve made in recent years.”

Welsh players will be eligible to play for the new Combined Nations All Stars team, which will be coached by Tim Sheens, and take on England on June 25.

The likes of St Helens winger Regan Grace have already been linked with a call-up.

Wales last played an international on November 11, 2018 when they beat Ireland 40-8 in front of 1,257 fans in Wrexham.

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