Fri 11 November
Following long discussions with management and coaching staff, Wales Rugby League captain Lee Briers has announced that he will be retiring from International Rugby after the completion of the Gillette Four Nations tournament.
The match on Sunday against Australia at the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium in Wrexham (kick-off 5.45pm), will be the last time that supporters will be able to see his mercurial talents in the red of Wales.
Briers has been an ever present force in the national side since 1998 and it is somehow fitting that a star of his calibre should be bowing out in such a great tournament as the Gillette Four Nations against the former world champions Australia on home soil.
The 33-year old is set to win his 23rd Wales cap and will hope to score at least one goal on Sunday against the Kangaroos to give him 100 points for his country.
Mark Rowley, General Manager of Wales Rugby League, said: “Whilst we are very sorry to lose such a world class player on the field I am delighted to confirm that Lee will, from immediate effect, be joining the National team coaching staff. His experience and knowledge of the game will be invaluable as we look to develop the next generation of Rugby League players in preparation for the World Cup in 2013 which we will be co-hosting.
“I cannot underestimate his contribution to the game in Wales. He is a true icon in the sport and has been a fantastic personality, a great role model and example for all those players striving to reach the top of their profession.”
Lee Briers said of his time with Wales: “It has always meant something very special to me to represent my country and I felt honoured to have led Wales in this 2011 Gillette Four Nations campaign.
“But there comes a time in your international career when you realise that it’s difficult to keep putting yourself out there. It’s been a really tough decision because of the pleasure I’ve had, but sometimes you’ve just got to realise that it’s time for the next generation.
“What Wales have achieved has been remarkable given the resources they have and a huge amount of credit must go to Iestyn on the coaching side and Mark Rowley behind the scenes and I’m really pleased to have been asked to be part of that set up on the coaching front going forward.”
Wales coach Iestyn Harris paid tribute to his captain saying: “Lee’s played against Australia a few times in his career and it’s a fitting tribute to what he’s done for Wales Rugby League to finish against arguably the best team in the world and the team that everybody wants the opportunity to play against.
“To finish his Welsh career on this sort of a high, whatever the result, is certainly a good send off for him and I think the players will embrace that and look to put in a good performance, not only for Wales and themselves, but in respect of Lee who has been captain for the last two years and a very high performer for us for over 10 years.”
Tickets for Wales v Australia at the Glyndŵr University Racecourse Stadium on Wrexham Sunday 13th November (kick-off 5.45pm) are still available, priced £10 adults and £5 concessions. Tickets can be purchased by calling 0844 856 1113, by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or in person from the ticket office at the Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium situated in the Yale Stand.