OUR in-form full-back Owen Restall and centre/wing Calvin Wellington are included in an initial 30-man Wales squad for a Test against France in Albi on Sunday, June 19 (3.30pm local time).
Roughyeds, who are at home this Sunday to Midlands Hurricanes (3pm kick-oiff at the Vestacare Stadium), have a blank Sunday on June 19.
Restall and Wellington are among 14 uncapped players in the squad, which will be trimmed to 21 next week. Indeed, Restall is currently in his first season as a part-time pro, having signed for Oldham ahead of the current Betfred League One campaign from Yorkshire community club Underbank.
Aged 26, he has scored 12 tries this year and is joint second in the list of League One try scorers with the same number as Gav Rodden of North Wales Crusaders and two fewer than the leader, Mo Agoro of Keighley Cougars.
Interestingly and hugely significantly, Restall is joint second and is the ONLY player in the top NINE from a club that is currently outside the top four.
Indeed, his try-scoring ability is one of the division’s current talking points and many Oldham fans will be rooting for him to add to his total against the Hurricanes on Sunday and so enhance his chances of making the final 21 in John Kear’s Welsh squad.
Calvin Wellington’s first season at Oldham has been disrupted by illness, but all that is behind him now and we expect to see a lot of this true Welshman in the second half of the season.
The Oldham duo are among eight League One players in the 30, which also include former Oldham prop Joe Burke, now of West Wales Raiders.
Familiar faces include Rhys Williams, who will become Wales’ most capped men’s international if he plays against the French. Williams currently shares that accolade with Jordan James and ex-Roughyeds captain Ian Watson, all with 30 caps to their name.
Regan Grace, with whom Wellington first came north to St Helens, is not included, having only recently returned to the Saints side following injury, while Gil Dudson is not available.The match will be Wales’s first 13-a-side international since they beat Ireland in November 2018 to qualify for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.
The 30-man squad in full:
- Caleb Aekins* (Leigh Centurions)
- Bailey Antrobus* (York City Knights)
- Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets)
- Joe Burke (West Wales Raiders)
- Chester Butler (Huddersfield Giants)
- Michael Butt (Swinton Lions)
- Curtis Davies (Workington Town)
- Connor Davies (Workington Town)
- Rhys Evans (Bradford Bulls)
- Ben Evans (Bradford Bulls)
- William Evans* (Whitehaven)
- Jude Ferreira* (London Broncos)
- Dan Fleming (Bradford Bulls)
- Matty Fozard (Widnes Vikings)
- Dalton Grant (London Broncos)
- Cobi Green* (Rochdale Hornets)
- Tom Hopkins* (Barrow Raiders)
- Kyle Huish* (Wigan Warriors)
- Lewis Hulme* (Widnes Vikings)
- Paddy Jones* (Swinton Lions)
- Elliott Kear (c) (Bradford Bulls)
- Kieran Lewis (Saint Gaudens XIII)
- Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions)
- Lewis Pinder* (Wigan Warriors)
- Owen Restall* (Oldham RLFC)
- Luis Roberts* (Leigh Centurions)
- Anthony Walker (Bradford Bulls)
- David Weetman* (Workington Town)
- Calvin Wellington* (Oldham RLFC)
- Rhys Williams (Salford Red Devils)