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IRONMEN MAKE WRL SQUAD

John Kear has named a provisional 38-man train-on squad ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2017.

The squad was announced at Wales’ World Cup kit launch, which marked 100 days until their opening group match against Papua New Guinea.

There are six uncapped players in the squad: St Helens’ Calvin Wellington and Elliot Jenkins, Coventry Bears’ Zak Williams, Newcastle Knights’ Josh Ralph and Penrith Panthers duo Caleb Aekins and Daniel Brown.

Meanwhile, Ben Evans, Ben Flower, Larne Patrick and Rhys Evans, who all made their last appearances at Rugby League World Cup 2013, have been included.

Twenty out of Wales’ 22-man squad for last year’s World Cup qualification campaign have been shortlisted.

In total, the squad features 12 players from Super League clubs, nine players from Championship clubs, 13 players from League 1 clubs and four players from NRL and Australian clubs.

On his squad selection, Wales head coach John Kear said: “I’m delighted. Everybody is pretty excited about the World Cup.

“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.

“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. At this World Cup, they can set the standard.

“As a group, they really enjoy each other’s company and they will be confident.

“It will be a trip to savour for the players, the support staff and everybody involved.

“With 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.”

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WALES’ 38-MAN 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)

Wales will open their World Cup campaign when they face Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday, October 28.

They will then travel to Townsville in northern Australia to take on Fiji on Sunday, November 7.

Wales’ final group match is against Ireland at Perth Rectangular Stadium on Sunday, November 12.

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