World Cup massive for Wales, says White

Wales hooker Lloyd White believes the World Cup is massively important in proving to the Welsh public that rugby league can be big in the country.

The tournament opens at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on October 26 when England take on Australia and Wales play Italy.

White, 25, is hoping to make an impact in his first World Cup, some four years after he made his international debut against Ireland in the European Cup.

He said: “The World Cup has been a long time coming but it does seem like it has flown by since the launch a couple of years ago.

“I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into it.

“I’m not too sure at the moment how we’ll do, I think for us it is about taking every game as it comes.

“We need to get out of the group stage to prove we can compete, then if we do that we can take it from there.

“The World Cup is massively important to Welsh rugby league. We need to prove to the Welsh public, especially down in South Wales, that rugby league can be a big thing and that we have got a decent enough team to follow.

“The amount of young kids coming through now must have at least doubled over the past couple of years.

“When I first started, you could basically trun up and play for Wales under 18’s, whereas now there are big trials and a lot more competition for places.

“Having one of the biggest clubs like Wigan helping South Wales is a massive boost, and it makes people take note.”

Cardiff-born White played in Super League for the Crusaders franchise, and has also played for the country’s other professional club, South Wales Scorpions.

He has, however, spent the past two seasons at Widnes, although has seen injury restrict him to 37 appearances for the Vikings.

White added: “I am fit and well for the World Cup.

“I have got my eye on the number nine shirt but if there is any position that needs filling, I am happy to do so.

“(Coach) Iestyn Harris has got the respect of all the players and when he speaks, everyone listens.

“He has got a lot of knowledge of the game, and he is very big on his skill, which can only help my game to get better.”

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