Welsh youngsters get Celtic chance

James Gordon

Three Welsh youngsters will get their chance for Celtic against Leeds this Saturday after the visagate scandal.

The Crusaders find themselves six players short after the midweek controversy surrounding the UK Borders Agency, which ordered the deportation of club captain Jace van Dijk and fellow Australians Tony Duggan, Damien Quinn, Josh Hannay, Darren Mapp and Mark Dalle-Cort.

It gives the opportunity for the Welsh side to blood some home-grown talent in the shape of Elliot Kear, 20, and 19-year-olds Gil Dudson and Ashley Bateman.

Crusaders head of performance, Anthony Seibold, said: “There will be some young players who are not quite ready for Super League yet.

“But they have been training hard and are some of the best youngsters that we have on our books but only in year one or year two of playing rugby league.

“We know that it’s going to be a massive challenge for us with our long injury list as well as the six boys who have to go back to Australia.

“But there are some players who are now having the chance from our reserves and academy and we have to make sure that they learn over the next three weeks and try and make it a positive environment for them.”

Dudson played for Wales in their 74-0 defeat by England last autumn, while all three players played for the Crusaders Colts team that won the 2008 National Conference.