Welsh coach John Kerr has named a new look side for his teams world cup opener against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday.
Prop forward Craig Kopczak will again lead his country as he wins his 20th cap, while there are also starting shirts for Super League Young player of the year Nominee’s Regan Grace and Morgan Knowles. Grace will start on the wing, while his fellow Saints team mate Knowles will pack down at Loose Forward, while another St Helens player Ben Morris will partner ex Wigan Warriors player Rhodri Lloyd in the back row with Hooker Ste Parry and Prop forward Philip Joseph making up the pack.
Kerr has also named a new half back combination with Courtney Davies partnering Matt Seamark at 6 & 7. Elliot Kear starts at fullback with Rhys Williams named on the wing and London’s Michael Channing joining Andrew Grey in the centre’s.
Matty Fozzard, Sam Hopkins, Ben Evens and Chester Butler make up a strong and experienced bench.
For the home side, they boast a host of experience from both the NRL and the Queensland Cup, with no less than 10 from the team that won this year’s Queensland Cup. Skipper and Fullback David Mead has been a regular try scorer with both Gold Coast Titans and Brisbane Bronco’s while winger Garry Lo will join Castleford Tigers after the world cup. Loose Forward Paul Aiton is currently with Catalan Dragons while James Segeyaro who played half a season with Leeds Rhino’s will come off the bench along with a player currently reported to be on Warrington’s radar, Kurt Baptiste from Canberra raiders
Papua New Guinea: David Mead (capt), Justin Olam, Kato Ottio, Nene Macdonald, Garry Lo, Ase Boas, Watson Boas, Stanton Albert, Wartovo Puara, Luke Page, Rhyse Martin, Rod Griffin, Paul Aiton. Interchange: Kurt Baptiste, Willie Minoga, James Segeyaro, Enock Maki.
Wales: Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Michael Channing, Andrew Gay, Regan Grace, Courtney Davies, Matt Seamark, Craig Kopczak (capt), Steve Parry, Philip Joseph, Rhodri Lloyd, Ben Morris, Morgan Knowles. Interchange: Matty Fozard, Sam Hopkins, Ben Evans, Chester Butler.