Rugby League: Harris makes changes to Wales line-up

Wales head coach Iestyn Harris has made eight changes to the side that lost to France in June for the return encounter in Lens on Saturday.

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Rugby League: Harris makes changes to Wales line-up
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Wales coach Iestyn Harris

The two teams open the autumn international series, which also involves England, in a repeat of the thrilling 2010 European Cup final in Albi which Wales won 12-11 with the last kick of the game to earn a place in the 2011 Four Nations Series.

The Welsh will be without one of their heroes of that day, all-time leading try-scorer Rhys Williams, who has a knee injury, but Harris can call on influential Wigan forwards Ben Flower and Gil Dudson, who both missed the June defeat through injury.

Wales are also boosted by the return of Bradford full-back Elliot Kear, who was man of the match in Albi but sat out the June game with a wrist problem.

Prop Craig Kopczak is another player back in the fold and keen to get his boots on after missing the end of the season following his walk-out at Bradford.

Warrington Under-20s prop Ben Evans, centre Rob Massam, of Championship side North Wales Crusaders, and Australia-based pair Neil Budworth and half-back Matt Seamark are all included after missing the last match.

They join a squad of youth and experience, with Salford prop Jordan James, who made his Wales debut against Australia in 2003, lining up alongside 18-year-old Rhys Pugsley, a front rower who has come along the Welsh conveyor belt pathway from amateur side Newport Titans as a 13-year-old to gain a contract with Wigan this year.

Harris said: "We came together a week ago and I am really happy with the way the guys have trained over the period since. We asked a lot of our players when they came in and they have responded very well.

"The 19-man squad is ready to put in a good performance for us and the guys have jumped in with a really good attitude. We took a couple of days to settle into the structures but now they are a unit."

Wales 19-man squad: E Kear (Bradford), B Evans (Warrington), M Channing (London Broncos), C Roets, R Massam, (both North Wales Crusaders), N Budworth (Mackay Cutters), D Jones, C Moss (both Keighley), M Seamark (Wynnum Manley), D James, S Parry, J Burke (all South Wales Scorpions), J James (Salford), G Dudson, B Flower, R Lloyd, R Pugsley (all Wigan), D Fleming (Castleford), C Kopzcak (unattached).

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