Leigh Centurions and Salford Red Devils men to start for Wales as ex-Huddersfield Giants man named on the bench

Former Wakefield Trinity and Hull FC boss John Kear has name his first team for the World Cup as his Wales side prepare for a clash with the Cook Islands in Leigh tonight.

The game is live on BBC Two and will see the two teams try and live up to the standards set by Group D rivals Tonga and Papua New Guinea last night as the pair meet at Leigh Centurions’ Leigh Sports Village.

Kear has named a strong side with some talented players in it including one of Leigh’s stars from their promotion campaign in the shape of Caleb Aekins.

Meanwhile, Salford Red Devils winger Rhys Willimas – scorer of a sensational Wembley try against Leeds Rhinos back in 2020 – features on the wing.

A former Super League player in Elliot Kear captains the side from centre strangely wearing the number six jersey.

Former St Helens youngster Matty Fozard is at nine after signing a new deal with hometown club Widnes Vikings today after joining the Vikings in 2022 from Sheffield Eagles.

Fozzard knows Kear well working with him at Widnes.

Meanwhile on the bench is former Huddersfield Giants man Chester Butler who has spent time with the Bradford Bulls recently.

Wales Team: Caleb Aekins, Mike Butt, Will Evans, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams, Ollie Olds, Josh Ralph, Anthony Walker, Matty Fozzard, Dan Fleming, Rhodri Lloyd, Bailey Antrobus, Joe Burke

Subs: Chester Butler, Ben Evans, Curtis Davies and Connor Davies

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