Four Gwent men in Wales Academy squad
3:02pm Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Sport
FOUR Gwent players are in the Wales Academy 19-man rugby league squad for their first Test against England Academy this Sunday which is staged at Taff’s Well RFC (kick-off 3pm), writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
South Wales Scorpions, Monmouth’s Jordan Howells, Newport’s TJ Collin and Ebbw Vale’s Rhys Finney, as well as Wigan Warriors’ Rhys Pugsley, who is also from Newport, are among 12 players retained in the set-up after starring in Wales Under 18s’ win over England Lions last week.
Howells and Collin were among the try-scorers in that comprehensive 40-10 victory, also played at Taff’s Well.
Head coach Dave Clark knows his side face a big challenge to repeat last week’s heroics.
“Our players know that this is a very tough game especially as they’ll be facing players who are all affiliated with Super League clubs,” he said.
“A lot of the team had a morale-boosting win over England Lions last week, but this is a massive step up for them and they’ll need to be on top of their game to get a result.”
Seven Super League clubs are represented in the England squad, which features eight players from Wigan Warriors, three from Huddersfield Giants, one from St Helens and two apiece from Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, Bradford Bulls and Warrington Wolves.
England Academy coach John Winder believes that junior Rugby League in England is thriving and that his squad can benefit from a number of players having already played in Super League.
“One of the big strengths of the England programme is that we have players coming in who have Super League experience,” he said. “George Williams, for example, at Wigan, has already played in Super League.
“There is a really good mix of players here in this squad. We have players who have been in the England programme for the last couple of years and also we have some new fresh faces.”
The second Test, which is also staged at Taff’s Well, is on Friday, October 18 (kick-off 6.30pm).
Admission to each match costs £5 for adults, £3 for juniors.
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