Rhodri Lloyd excited by Welsh rugby league scene

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

RHODRI LLOYD believes it is "exciting times" for Wales Rugby League ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2017.

The Swinton Lions utility player was named in John Kear's provisional 38-man train-on squad for the tournament.

And he is now aiming to finish the season strongly with the Lions to give himself the best chance of a trip to the southern hemisphere this autumn. 

"There's competition for places so no one's on the plane yet," Lloyd said.

"That'll be good for the camp we have.

"It'll be tough to be on the plane, but I think the people who do will wear the shirt with pride and we'll do well. 

"I can't wait, but there's a lot of hard work to be done yet. We've still got the regular season to finish off with our clubs."

The Dragons are currently unbeaten in six matches having won the European Championship in 2015 and qualified for the World Cup. 

It is a sign of the progress that Wales have made over the last couple of years, according to Lloyd.

"We're all getting excited for the World Cup," he said. 

"The last World Cup was a tough one to swallow really.

"I think the group has moved on massively and we've got a core group now which has been under John for a while.

"I think we can benefit from our togetherness and, hopefully, progress as far as we can in the World Cup.

"Before the run, I hadn't won a game for Wales.

"I have 12 caps now and, in these last six games, we've been undefeated, so it is a great achievement what John and the coaching staff that he's brought in have done.

"The only way is forward so it's exciting times for Wales Rugby League."

Wales face Papua New Guinea in their group stage opener, before clashes with Fiji and Ireland.

The tournament starts on Friday, October 27 with Australia versus England, and, fresh from his fairytale comeback from a 10-month lay-off, Warrington second rower Ben Currie has set his sights on making his England debut.

The 22-year-old linked up with the England squad last week still on a high after scoring the winning try in the Wolves' 16-10 Super League win over Wigan.

Warrington's shock victory gave them a measure of revenge for their Grand Final defeat last October, which Currie was forced to watch from the sidelines after suffering the agony of a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament against the same opponents in a Super Eights game three weeks earlier.

"It was very tough to take," Currie said. "When I did it, I thought it might not be too serious but then I had the scan the next day.

"When the physio rang me with the news, I was with my mum and dad when he said 'it looks like it's going to be a long one'. It was very emotional sat there with my family, there were a few tears. But it's all behind me now. If anything, it's made me mentally stronger and I can kick on for the rest of the year."

Ten months ago, Currie had the world at his feet.

At just 20, Currie was named in Steve McNamara's squad for the 2015 Test series against New Zealand and was poised to make his debut under Wayne Bennett until injury struck.

It also ruled him out of this year's mid-season Test against Samoa in Sydney but Bennett kept him in his revised 27-man elite training squad and he is poised to land a central contract.

Currie is determined to justify Bennett's loyalty.

"That's definitely my goal," Currie said. “He showed a lot of faith by keeping me in the big squad while I've been injured and I've got to prove he made the right decision.”

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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