John Kear names his first Wales 19-man squad of the Tournament for Cook Islands opener

John Kear has named his 19-man squad for Wales World Cup opener against the Cook Islands

He has named a squad which is captained by Elliot Kear who will match a feat made by school friend Sam Warburton by captaining Wales at a World Cup.

Bradford Bulls Kear will play stand off for his country and is partnered in the halves by Josh Ralph who plays for the North Sydney Bears in Australia.

Leigh Centurions full back Caleb Aekins will be hoping to replicate his form as club level as he makes his competitive debut for Wales. The former Canberra Raider made his first appearance in their warm up game against Lebanon which Wales lost 38-22.

Salford Red Devils winger Rhys Williams is Wales most capped player of all time and will be looking to add to his record try tally he has for his country.

Missing key Super League players such as Regan Grace and Gil Dudson for the duration of the tournament has left Wales a little short of star power.

Facing a group which includes three southern hemisphere sides in Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands, the task ahead of John Kear’s squad is big.

He is the squad in full:

The squad in full is:

  1. Caleb Aekins
  2. Rhys Williams
  3. Will Evans
  4. Dalton Grant
  5. Elliot Kear (c)
  6. Josh Ralph
  7. Anthony Walker
  8. Matty Fozard
  9. Dan Fleming
  10. Rhodri Lloyd
  11. Chester Butler
  12. Ben Evans
  13. Ollie Olds
  14. Curtis Davies
  15. Joe Burke
  16. Bailey Antrobus
  17. Connor Davies
  18. Mike Butt
  19. Tom Hopkins

Wales get their campaign started against the Cook Islands at Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday as they round off the first week of the tournament. The game is also live on BBC two from 7pm.

They then face Tonga on Monday 24th October before finishing their group stage games against another southern hemisphere opponent as they play Papua New Guinea on Monday 31st October.

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