By Ian Gordon
Wales Physical Disability Rugby League head coach Craig Fisher says his squad is ready to make its mark at the upcoming PDRL World Cup.
Fisher has named a 15-player squad for the tournament which takes place in Warrington from Sunday 23 October.
Wales, England, Australia and New Zealand take on each other in a round-robin format at Victoria Park, before the final takes place on Sunday 30 October at the Halliwell Jones Stadium following Samoa v France in the men’s Rugby League World Cup.
“This is the first time that Wales will enter a PDRL team into a World Cup or indeed any international tournament,” Fisher said.
“We have based our recruitment on a number of different sports, which has meant that we have had to coach and support many of the players as to how to play rugby league and teach them the nuances of PDRL.
“We have assembled a special group of individuals who are committed and ready to put their stamp on the tournament, and represent Wales in the same way that our athletes in other variants of rugby league have done – with pride, passion and an unwavering will to succeed.
“We have done as much homework on our opposition as we can and we understand the threats each team will pose to us. We just need to stick to our processes and work harder than they intend to on the day.
“Whatever the outcome, the Wales PRDL team will be ready and will entertain, and who knows, maybe, just maybe, we bring home a World Championship.
“Never underestimate an underdog.”
PDRL is an adapted version of rugby league aimed at facilitating those with physical disabilities the opportunity to play.
It is a nine-a-side running format of the game, and is both full contact and touch, based on disability which is signified by the colour of a player’s shorts.
WALES PDRL WORLD CUP SQUAD: Robert Carpenter (Cardiff Chiefs MARU), Dylan Hughes, Isaac Pickett, Chris Young (all Leeds Rhinos PDRL), Chris Spriggs (Llanelli Warriors MARU), Daniel Shaw (Pembrokeshire Vikings MARU), Nick Harris, Justin Martin (both Port Talbot Panthers MARU), Morgan Jones, Paul Jones, Tyma Hughes, Ben Lewis, Stewart Newton, Connor Rice, Leif Thobroe (all Salford Red Devils PDRL).
Full PDRL World Cup schedule:
Round 1, October 23, Victoria Park:
Wales v New Zealand – 2pm
England v Australia – 4.30pm
Round 2, October 25, Victoria Park
Wales v England – 2pm
Australia v New Zealand – 4.30pm
Round 3, October 28, Victoria Park
England v New Zealand – 5pm
Australia v Wales – 7.30pm
Finals, 30 October
Third place play-off – 2pm Victoria Park
Final – 7.30pm, Halliwell Jones Stadium