Wales name six uncapped players in World Cup squad
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/07/17 5:10pm
Wales coach John Kear has included six uncapped players in a provisional 38-man train-on squad for the 2017 World Cup.
The new faces include three from the NRL while Wigan prop Ben Flower and Warrington centre Rhys Evans have been included in the hope that they will recover in time from major surgery.
The squad was announced at Wales' World Cup kit launch, which marked 100 days until their opening match against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on October 28.
The uncapped men are St Helens duo Calvin Wellington and Elliot Jenkins, Coventry Bears' Zak Williams, Newcastle Knights' Josh Ralph and Penrith Panthers duo Caleb Aekins and Daniel Brown.
The squad includes 20 players from last year's World Cup qualifying campaign and London Broncos prop Ben Evans and Castleford forward Larne Patrick who have not played since the last tournament in 2013.
Flower, who snapped an Achilles three months ago, and Evans, who has undergone shoulder surgery, are also hoping to return to the fold after a four-year absence but remain serious injury doubts.
The squad comprises 12 players from Super League, nine from the Championship, 13 from League 1 and four from Australian clubs.
Kear said: "The train-on squad is a mixture of those who have achieved with us and newcomers who have come to our attention. We want to be able to pick the best squad for the World Cup.
"Ben Flower, Ollie Olds and Rhys Evans are all currently injured but we're giving them every opportunity to recover, go through their rehab and put their hands up for selection.
"As this is a train-on squad, it doesn't exclude other players from joining the squad at a later date."
Wales, who failed to win a game at the last World Cup under Iestyn Harris, also play Fiji and Ireland in their group, with the winners going through to the quarter-finals.
"From speaking to the players, I know that they were disappointed with the 2013 World Cup and they see this tournament as a way of rectifying that," Kear added. "At this World Cup, they can set the standard.
"Going to places like Papua New Guinea, Townsville and Perth, it's going to be a real adventure. It will be one that we can enjoy but we will also have to work hard."
Wales train-on squad: Larne Patrick (Castleford Tigers), Zak Williams (Coventry Bears), Courtney Davies, Steve Parry, Lewis Reece (all Gloucestershire All Golds), Danny Ansell (Hunslet), Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions), Michael Channing, Ben Evans, Dalton Grant, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (all London Broncos), Josh Ralph (Newcastle Knights), Matty Barron (Newcastle Thunder), Joe Burke (Oldham), Caleb Aekins, Daniel Brown (both Penrith Panthers), Ant Walker (Rochdale Hornets), Craig Kopczak (Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Morgan Evans, Connor Farrer, Andrew Gay, Christiaan Roets (all South Wales Ironmen), Regan Grace, Elliot Jenkins, Morgan Knowles, Ben Morris, Calvin Wellington (all St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Jake Emmitt, Dan Fleming (both Toronto Wolfpack), Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves), Ollie Olds (West Brisbane Panthers), Gil Dudson, Lloyd White (both Widnes Vikings), Ben Flower (Wigan Warriors), Phil Joseph (Workington Town).