Preview: England Lions v Wales Dragonhearts
will have to pull out all the stops this year if they are to retain their Conference Home Nations Championship that they have won eight times in the ten years that it has been running.by NRL
will have to pull out all the stops this year if they are to retain their Conference Home Nations Championship that they have won eight times in the ten years that it has been running.
But now at the start of the second decade of the competition which has spawned Wales' most successful international team in any sport, England will, on paper, have their toughest team ever.
This tournament fields the representative sides of Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland from their community Rugby League competitions that take place in the summer months.
And while the whole of the three Celtic nations have always only played summer Rugby League in the Super League era, the vast majority of the English game switched from winter to summer only this year. As such, the England Lions (formerly the Lionhearts) will now be able to pick from a higher and stronger level of talent than ever before.
Wales travel to Haworth Park in Hull to take on England this Saturday and they have in the main selected their team from their top two community clubs Bonymaen Broncos and Bridgend Blue Bulls.
Bridgend have rarely lost a game in their nine year history while Bonymaen, who only set up in 2011, have never lost a game.
"The Broncos players in the side will have never lost a game of Rugby League that they've played in," said Wales Dragonhearts coach Craig Fox. "A number of them played for Wales Dragonhearts last year and we won all three games plus they will have played for the West Wales side which beat East Wales last year. They don't want to start losing now.
"We know it will be a very tough test for us travelling all the way to Hull to face a strong England side but we feel that we're ready for the challenge."
In this Saturday's other game, Ireland take on Scotland at Malone RFC in Belfast, kick-off 2pm.
The next round of fixtures on July 21/22 sees Scotland host England at Falkirk RFC on the Saturday and Ireland travelling to Wales, the date and venue of which are yet to be announced.
The tournament concludes on Saturday August 11 with Scotland v Wales at Falkirk RFC and Ireland v England.
WALES DRAGONHEARTS SQUAD FOR THE ENGLAND MATCH
1 Gareth David - Bridgend Blue Bulls
2 Robbie Ford - Bonymaen Broncos
3 Lloyd Ryland - Bridgend Blue Bulls
4 Gareth Howells - Bridgend Blue Bulls
5 Jason Howells - Bonymaen Broncos
6 Ian Brooks - Bonymaen Broncos
7 Paul Emmanuelli - Valley Cougars
8 Rhys Davies - Bonymaen Broncos
9 Rhys Meredith - Newport Titans
10 Ken Dowding - Bridgend Blue Bulls
11 Richard Brooks - Bonymaen Broncos
12 Robert Jones - Bonymaen Broncos
13 Dale Tucker- Newport Titans
14 Nick Clancy - Bonymaen Broncos
15 Nathan Hawkins - Bridgend Blue Bulls
16 Huw Rosser - Bridgend Blue Bulls
17 Daniel Griffiths - Bonymaen Broncos
18 Craig Fox - Bridgend Blue Bulls
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