Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Since making their Rugby League World Cup debut in 1975 Wales has certainly had a mixed experience in the tournament.
After getting a taste of playing on our game’s biggest stage the Dragons had to wait another 20 years before once again participating in a World Cup as a standalone nation and they certainly made the most of their return in 1995.
Wales went through the group stage undefeated and beat Western Samoa 22-10 in the quarter-final stage before they were unfortunately eliminated from the tournament just one game away from the final when the Dragons fell at the second last hurdle against hosts England at Old Trafford 25-10.
In 2000 Wales qualified for their second consecutive World Cup and despite finishing second in their group still progressed to the quarter-finals where they would defeat Papua New Guinea and again find themselves one win away from the final, but yet again they lost the tournament’s penultimate game, this time to Australia in a 46-22 loss.
Following this period of International prominence, Wales began to regress and did not even qualify for the Rugby League World Cup in 2008; however, they would once again return to the tournament in 2013 but unfortunately failed to win a single game which can also be said about their 2017 World Cup campaign.
WALES SQUAD | CARFAN CYMRU 🏴
— Wales Rugby League (@WalesRugbyL) June 9, 2022
Wales then went on to win one game at the Rugby League World Cup 9’s in 2019 but have failed to win a single game at a 13-a-side World Cup since they last made the knockout stage in 2000.
The Welsh faithful will be hoping that their nation can end this winless drought at this year’s World Cup but will find getting out of Group D a tough task as they are joined by the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
In a bid to better prepare for the tournament the Dragons will face France in a warm-up match in Albi on the 19th of June.
Head coach John Kear has named 14 debutants in his 30 man squad which suggests we can expect the dawn of a new age for Wales at the World Cup.