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Wales boasts one of the longest standing teams in Rugby League history – as well as some of the sports greatest ever players.
In 1908 they defeated New Zealand’s famous ‘All Golds’ touring side in their first official international, though the story of Welsh Rugby League arguably goes back even further. 10 Welshmen featured in the Other Nationalities team that played England in 1904.
Wales’s track record in producing players of the highest calibre is second to none. Three Welshmen are honoured in the Rugby League Hall of Fame: Billy Boston, Wigan’s all-time record try scorer with a magnificent record of 478 tries in 488 games; Jim Sullivan, all-time record appearance and points scored for Wigan; and Gus Risman, who led minnows Workington Town to Challenge Cup glory in 1952 at the age of 41.
The Welsh team that competed in the 1995 World Cup included the mercurial Jonathan Davies and powerhouse Scott Gibbs, alongside the emerging talents of Iestyn Harris and Kieron Cunningham.
With an array of talent at their disposal, the Dragons managed to reach the semi-final stage in 1995 and repeated the feat at the 2000 World Cup, where they led the mighty Australians 20-8 in the second half before losing 46-22.
The 2008 qualifying campaign was less memorable, but with qualification for 2013 now assured coach Iestyn Harris will be hoping that his charges can once again put Welsh Rugby League on the map.