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“I’ve had to give up my job” – Batley prop swaps the classroom for the World Cup

Batley Bulldogs prop Michael Ward has quit his job as a maths teacher to pursue the opportunity to represent Ireland at the upcoming World Cup.

The 31-year-old had been juggling playing rugby league alongside his full-time job as a teacher, but with the World cup around the corner he was unable to fulfil his role at school and has made the decision to leave in order to play for his country.

Ward was part of the Batley team which narrowly missed out on reaching Super League as they were beaten 44-12 by Leigh Centurions but he was recognised for his efforts across the season with a call-up to the Irish squad.

“It’s a really big honour for me,” Ward told BBC Radio Leeds. “I’ve had to give up my job as a teacher to do it so it’s an achievement of a lifetime.

“I’m going to go chase my dreams and hopefully get a few games in.”

Ward has been picked as part of a strong looking Ireland squad which also includes the likes of multiple NRL Premiership winner Luke Keary and beaten Super League Grand Finalists James Bentley and Richie Myler.

At age 31, this could be Ward’s last opportunity to represent Ireland at a World Cup and the Wolfhounds could prove to be a bogey team this tournament.

They start their campaign against Jamaica before a tricky fixture against Lebanon before finishing the group stage against 2008 World Cup winners New Zealand.

The first two group fixtures will be crucial to Ireland’s chances as they aim to make it through to the knockout stages after failing in both 2013 and 2017.

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