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Wales national rugby league team

Wales
Badge of Wales team
Nickname The Dragons
Governing body Wales Rugby League
Region Europe
Head coach John Kear
Captain Craig Kopczak
Most caps Ian Watson (30) [1]
Top try-scorer Rhys Williams (16) [1]
Top point-scorer Iestyn Harris (165) [1]
RLIF ranking 9th
First international
 New Zealand 8–9 Wales 
(Aberdare, Wales; 1 January 1908)
Biggest win
 United States 4–92 Wales 
(Philadelphia, USA; 11 June 1995)
Biggest defeat
 England 74–0 Wales 
(Doncaster, England; 10 October 2008)
World Cup
Appearances 4 (first time in 1975)
Best result Semi-finals, 1995; 2000

The Wales national rugby league team represents Wales in international rugby league football matches. Currently the team is seventh in the RLIF World Rankings. The team was run under the auspices of the Rugby Football League, but an independent body, Wales Rugby League, now runs the team from Cardiff. A total of three Welsh players have been entered into the Rugby League Hall Of Fame.

Similar to many other Welsh national sporting teams, Wales strip has been primarily red for many years, including now. However, in their last World Cup campaign in 2000 they did wear a shirt featuring the Welsh flag, adding a touch of green and white. The team is known as "The Dragons" and so the teams logo on the shirt is a red dragon.

The team date back to 1907, making them the third oldest national side after England and New Zealand. And it was a touring New Zealand side that Wales first played against in 1908, winning 9-8 at Aberdare. Since then Wales have regularly played England, since 1935 France, as well as welcomed the touring Australia and New Zealand teams, although they rarely toured themselves, not playing a match in the Southern Hemisphere until 1975. For twenty-six years Wales competed against their two biggest rivals, England and France, in the European Nations Cup, winning the trophy four times.

Wales have also competed in the World Cup on three occasions, the first time being in 1975. In 1995 and 2000 they had their most successful tournaments to date, surprisingly making the Semi-Finals on both occasions before being beaten by England and Australia respectively. Wales failed to qualify for the 2008 World Cup, being the second highest ranked side not to do so, having lost to Scotland on points difference over two matches.

In recent seasons Wales have taken massive strides under former player Iestyn Harris who had coached Wales to back to back European Cup successes, which culminated in a Four Nations appearance in 2011. In 2014 former England and France coach John Kear became the new head coach after Iestyn Harris left the post to concentrate on his new job as head coach at Salford Red Devils.

Contents

  • History 1
    • Foundations 1.1
    • The Kiwis In Aberdare 1.2
    • Defeats against England 1.3
    • The Twenties 1.4
    • The European Nations Cup 1.5
    • Timeline 1.6
  • 2015 squad 2
  • Rugby League Hall Of Fame 3
  • Welsh Sports Hall Of Fame 4
  • Records 5
    • World Cup 5.1
    • Four Nations 5.2
    • Individual 5.3
  • Wales A 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History

Foundations

On 5 April 1904, England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team, as it was a 12-a-side game, ten of them were Welshmen coming from Northern English clubs. At the turn of the century many Welshmen made the switch from rugby union, wanting to be paid for playing, and although the numbers switching were constantly increasing, the Northern Union did not think that a Welsh side would be strong enough for England. After 80 minutes however, the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9-3. Nevertheless, this team carried on for another two years, playing England annually in 1905 and 1906, losing 26-11 and drawing 3-3 respectively.

The Kiwis In Aberdare

From 1905 to 1910 Rugby League as a sport enjoyed growth, not just in Wales and England, but also on the east coast of Australia and in northern New Zealand. When Albert Henry Baskerville's NZ All Golds with their guest Australian star Dally Messenger arrived in Britain for the inaugural tour by a southern hemisphere side, the first full international was against Wales on New Year's Day 1908. The Welsh rugby league team were contesting their first national fixture, and managed to beat the touring Kiwis 9-8 in Aberdare in front of 20,000 spectators. This was the first international match played under new "Northern Union" rules, which would later be rapidly changed again, but these rules were a small departure from traditional rugby union rules which had been used in previous international matches (minus the amount of players, which were experimentally changed by the NU several times). The New Zealand team, or the "All Golds" as they were being called by the New Zealand newspapers, had never played rugby by these rules before but did have a week of preparation and training sessions leading up to the match. With this Welsh victory and large crowd, Wales played their second fixture in Tonypandy, and managed to win that match too recording a 35-18 win against what would soon become their main rival, the England Lions. At the end of 1908 Wales played their third and final fixture of the decade, playing England again, but this time in Broughton, Lancashire. This time they lost 31-7. However, in 1909 another victory was to occur for Welsh Rugby League, with a Welsh League XIII made up of players still playing in Wales beating a touring Australian side 14-13 in Merthyr.

Defeats against England

In the years before the outbreak of the war, Wales regularly played England. The two national teams played each other every single year, including 1914. Due to Rugby League only extensively being played in the two countries in the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, touring Australia and New Zealand teams were the only chances to play someone different. Although the two matches against the English played in Wales were played in Ebbw Vale in Monmouthshire, the Welsh travelled around England for away matches, playing in Coventry, Oldham, Plymouth and St Helens. Collectively those seven matches in Wales and England produced six defeats for the Welsh team, although there were signs of improvement, in the last match in St Helens the Dragons narrowly lost by just four points, the match ending 16-12. On the 7 October 1911 Wales played Australia for the first time. The match, held at Ebbw Vale again, drew 7,000 people to watch Wales go down 20-28. The match was significant though because throughout the next few decades Australia would play the Dragons in Wales whenever they toured Great Britain. During and after the First World War many sports suffered, and rugby league in Wales was no exception, the team didn't play a match again until 1921.

The Twenties

Jim Sullivan, born in Cardiff, first played for Wales on the 21 December 1920 against Australia and played a then record 26 times for Wales throughout the 1920s and 1930s. This picture depicts him with the Championship Trophy for Wigan.

After a seven-year hiatus Wales once again played England and continued to do so annually throughout the 1920s, apart from in 1924. Because of the long hiatus a large proportion of players competing in the 1921 match were earning their first cap for the team. The first game at Leeds saw Wales lose 35-9 in front of 13,000. A further 13,000 saw the 1921-22 Kangaroo touring side play Wales in December 1921, this time in Pontypridd. Like the first time these nations played each other, Australia narrowly defeated the Welsh, the final score being 16-21. In 1922 Wales took part in the first international rugby league match to be played in London. England beat Wales 12-7 in Herne Hill but just 3,000 people turned up to watch, one of the lowest attendances to ever watch a Wales match. After four more matches against England in various Rugby League strongholds in Northern England, the Dragons once again played in Wales. Two matches were played in 1926 in Pontypridd, the same year that a Pontypridd domestic side joined the English leagues, although they disbanded a year later. The first match saw finished Wales 22-30 England with a record 23,000 in attendance. The second match saw Wales comfortably beat the touring New Zealand 34-8. Three more matches against England were played including one in November 1928 played in Cardiff. It was in the twenties that Jim Sullivan, one of three Welsh players to be enrolled into the Rugby League Hall Of Fame, started rising through the ranks at Wigan. A career spanning 25 years saw him play many times for Wales picking up 26 caps, a record that was only beaten in 2010 by Ian Watson. He also represented Great Britain 25 times and Glamorgan & Monmouthshire 12 times.

The European Nations Cup

The 1930s were to herald a new era for the team as it emerged at times as one of the dominant sides in world rugby league. In 1930 and 1933 Wales played Australia at Second World War, Wales beat their main rivals England before dramatically losing 16-10 in Bordeaux against Les Tricolores. Because of the French's victory against England, Wales finished second and the cup was taken across the channel.

During the 1978 Kangaroo tour Wales played Australia at St Helen's ground in Swansea, losing 8-3.

Timeline

Wales team shirt used in the 2000 World Cup.
  • 1907 Wales play their first international match – won against New Zealand in Aberdare (17,000). Win the first Anglo-Welsh match 35-18.
  • 1909 The Welsh League XIII defeat the touring Australians.
  • 1926 Wales defeat New Zealand 34-8 – the New Zealanders award full caps for the match.
  • 1936 Wales win the second European Championship with a 17-14 Victory over England in Hull.
  • 1938 Wales win the European championship for the third consecutive season.
  • 1945 30,000 people attend a match against England in Swansea.
  • 1947 Wales defeat England 10-8 in Wigan.
  • In 1975 Clive Sullivan's try effectively won the World title for Australia, as Wales beat England 12-7 at Brisbane, thanks to Sullivan's match-clinching try after chasing a ball over the English line. The final three games in the tournament, however, all ended in losses and Wales finish third.
  • On Sunday 27 October 1991, Papua New Guinea met Wales at Vetch Field, Swansea. Roared on by a fervent crowd of 11,422; Wales won by a record 68-0 margin, scoring thirteen tries. In that match Jonathan Davies scored 24 points.
Wales played Papua New Guinea on the Kumuls tour of Europe. The match finished 50-10 in favour of Wales.
  • In December 1992 Wales defeated France in Perpignan, their first win on French soil for thirty years.
  • 1995 Wales win the European Championship, with a win over England (the first since 1968 and the biggest on Welsh soil). Mike Gregory is head coach for the 1995 World Cup. Wales make the semi-finals of the World Cup, only to lose to England. The 1995 World Cup between Wales and Western Samoa in front of a capacity crowd of over 15,000 at Swansea was a pinnacle for Welsh Rugby League in the modern era. Following rugby union's decision to go professional, the flow of talent going north from the valleys dried up and Jonathan Davies returned to rugby union.
  • In 1996, Wales beat France in Carcassonne to bring home the European Championship for the first time in 57 years.
  • 1997 Anger as the RFL announce that at the proposed 1998 World Cup (never played), Wales would not be included at the expense of the NZ Maoris. Wales were once again to form part of Britain.
  • 1998 Emerging England defeat a full Welsh side in Widnes.
  • In November 2000 Wales again made the World Cup semi finals, losing to Australia in a hard-fought battle at Huddersfield.
  • In November 2005 Wales took second in the European Nations Cup, losing to France in the final at Carcassonne.
  • In 2007 Wales failed to qualify for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup
  • Wales win the 2009 European cup; deafeating Scotland in the final.
  • Wales win the 2010 European cup to qualify for the 2011 Four Nations against Australia, England and New Zealand.
  • 27-10-2012 Wales are thrashed 80-12 by England at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham as part of the Autumn Internationals series.
  • In October and November 2013, Wales failed to win a game at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup held in England and Wales.
  • In October and November 2014, Wales were thrashed in all three games in the 2014 European Cup.

2015 squad

The Welsh national team squad selected for the 2015 European Cup tournament.[2] (caps and points apply for before the tournament began):

  • Matty Fozard pulled out of the squad before the tournament due to a broken jaw suffered in training. He was replaced by Connor Farrer.[3]
  • Captain Lloyd White withdrew from the team before the tournament began due to a knee injury.[5] Craig Kopczak was therefore announced as the new captain.[6]
  • On the 21st of October, Ben Flower in the team.[7]
Other Nat. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Pts Club
Wales Fullback Elliot Kear (1988-11-29) 29 November 1988 15 40 London Broncos
Wales Wing Rhys Williams (1989-12-08) 8 December 1989 18 64 London Broncos
England Wing Michael Channing (1992-06-30) 30 June 1992 3 0 Castleford Tigers
South Africa Centre Christiaan Roets (1980-09-05) 5 September 1980 18 52 North Wales Crusaders
Wales Wing Dalton Grant (1990-04-21) 21 April 1990 2 4 Dewsbury Rams
Wales Halfback Connor Farrer South Wales Scorpions
Wales Halfback Ollie Olds (1993-08-14) 14 August 1993 4 0 Souths Logan Magpies
England Prop Daniel Fleming (1992-07-08) 8 July 1992 5 8 Bradford Bulls
England Hooker Lloyd White Widnes Vikings
England Prop Craig Kopczak (Captain) (1986-12-20) 20 December 1986 14 4 Huddersfield Giants
Wales Second-row Rhodri Lloyd (1993-07-22) 22 July 1993 6 8 Wigan Warriors
England Second-row Morgan Knowles (1996-11-05) 5 November 1996 0 0 St Helens
Wales Lock Philip Joseph (1985-01-10) 10 January 1985 7 4 Widnes Vikings
Wales Second-row Lewis Reece (1991-06-17) 17 June 1991 3 10 Gloucestershire All Golds
Australia Prop James Geurtjens 0 0 Coventry Bears
England Prop Ben Flower Wigan Warriors
England Prop Anthony Walker (1991-12-28) 28 December 1991 2 4 Wakefield Wildcats
Wales Hooker Steve Parry (1988-10-19) 19 October 1988 3 0 Gloucestershire All Golds
Wales Prop Morgan Evans (1992-03-23) 23 March 1992 0 0 Coventry Bears
Wales Prop Joe Burke (1990-05-18) 18 May 1990 5 0 North Wales Crusaders
England Second-row Ricky Hough 3 0 Newcastle Thunder
England Second-row Matt Barron (1986-11-17) 17 November 1986 6 0 Newcastle Thunder
England Centre Rob Massam (1987-10-29) 29 October 1987 2 4 North Wales Crusaders
Wales Scrum-half Courtney Davies (1994-07-01) 1 July 1994 0 0 Gloucestershire All Golds
Wales Fullback Jamie Murphy (1989-12-29) 29 December 1989 0 0 Gloucestershire All Golds
England Hooker Matty Fozard (1995-03-03) 3 March 1995 2 4 St Helens
England Wing Regan Grace (1996-12-12) 12 December 1996 0 0 St Helens

Rugby League Hall Of Fame

The following Welsh players have been inducted into both the British Rugby League Hall of Fame and the international Rugby League Hall of Fame :

Welsh Sports Hall Of Fame

The following Welsh players have been inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame:

Records

Official Rankings as of May 2015[8]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Increase  New Zealand 949.00
2 Decrease  Australia 941.00
3 Steady  England 485.00
4  Samoa 320.00
5  France 215.00
6  Fiji 196.00
7  Ireland 154.00
8  Scotland 123.00
9  Wales 122.00
10  United States 118.00
11  Papua New Guinea 113.00
12  Italy 79.00
13 Increase  Canada 49.00
14 Decrease  Serbia 47.00
15 Increase  Tonga 47.00
16 Decrease  Russia 45.00
17 Steady  Cook Islands 31.00
18 Decrease  Belgium 30.00
19  Germany 24.00
20 Increase  Lebanon 24.00
21 Decrease  Norway 22.00
22  Ukraine 21.00
23 Increase  Malta 20.00
24 Decrease  Greece 19.00
25 Steady  Netherlands 15.00
26 Increase  Spain 14.00
27 Decrease  Denmark 13.00
28 Increase  South Africa 12.00
29 Decrease  Jamaica 11.00
30 Decrease  Czech Republic 9.00
31  Sweden 7.00
32 Steady  Hungary 2.00
33 NEW  Niue 2.00
34 Decrease  Latvia 2.00
35 NEW  Philippines 2.00
36 Decrease  Morocco 0.00

World Cup

World Cup Record
Year Round Position Pld
1954 Did not enter
1957
1960
1968
1970
1972
1975 Group Stage 3rd out of 5 8
1977 Did not enter
1985-88
1989-92
1995 Semi-final 4th out of 10 4
2000 Semi-final 5th out of 16 5
2008 Did not qualify
2013 Group Stage 12th out of 14 3
2017

Four Nations

Four Nations Record
Year Round Position Pld
2009 Did not qualify
2010 Did not enter
2011 Group Stage 4th out of 4 3
2014 Did not enter
2016 Did not qualify

Individual

Most Caps Top Point Scorer Top Try Scorer Top Goal Scorer
Player Caps Player Points Player Tries Player Goals
Ian Watson 30 Iestyn Harris 142 Rhys Williams 16 Jim Sullivan 60
Jordan James 30 Jim Sullivan 129 Christiaan Roets 13 Iestyn Harris 60
Lee Briers 23 Lee Briers 100 Iestyn Harris 12 Jonathan Davies 44
Roy Mathias 20 Jonathan Davies 95 Elliot Kear 10 David Watkins 36
Bill Francis 19 David Watkins 74 Lee Briers 9 Lee Briers 35
Iestyn Harris 19 - - Jordan James 9 - -
- - Adam Hughes 9 - -

[1]

Wales A

See Wales A

See also

References

  • HISTORY OF RUGBY IN OTHER COUNTRIES
  1. ^ a b c d All statistics are correct as of September 2013, as per RLP.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ RLIF Rankings.

External links

  • The Welsh Rugby League official website
  • Google-Video
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