New Widnes signing Will Evans may have an Australian accent, but he is representing Wales with pure pride and passion at the World Cup.
The 21-year-old was born and raised in Australia but qualifies to play for Wales through his father’s side of the family, who hail from Swansea.
Evans made his international debut for Wales against France in mid-season, and is now part of their World Cup squad.
Evans made his first World Cup appearance on Wednesday as the Dragons fell to an agonising 18-12 defeat to the Cook Islands in Leigh.
“My father was born and raised in Wales,” Evans told Love Rugby League. “I consider myself to be Welsh because I grew up on it and I’m really close with my Welsh family over here which is really cool.
“They are originally from Swansea but they are in Milford Haven now. Some of them came over from Wales for the game and my mum, dad and brother came over from Australia too. I hadn’t seen them for almost a year having been playing footy over here. It was a really cool moment to be able to play for Wales in front of my dad.
“We are learning a lot about our heritage and family and what the Welsh badge means to everyone. It’s really interesting. We’ve got a good bunch of lads and I’m really enjoying it.”
Will Evans: We want to test ourselves against the best
Although Wales didn’t come out on top against the Kukis, Evans believes there are plenty of positives to take into their remaining group games against Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
“We knew the Cook Islands were going to be good with their offloads and being fast in the ruck,” Evans said.
“Personally, I think we did really well up to the 60 or 70 minute mark. But their big boys sort of rolled us and started getting the offloads going so credit to them. Us as a Welsh squad, I think we can be proud of the result.
“You want to play the best and test yourself against the best. Tonga and PNG have some of the best players in the world. I’m really excited to see how we go as a crew as well as individually against some of the best players we have.”