Coach Iestyn Harris upbeat on Wales Four Nations challenge

Gillette Four Nations

Competing Nations:
England, Australia, New Zealand, Wales
Date:
28 October - 19 November
Coverage:
Updates on BBC Sport online and Radio 5 Live. TV coverage on BBC and Sky Sports
Iestyn Harris
Iestyn Harris took over of Wales rugby league coach from John Dixon in 2009

Wales Rugby League coach Iestyn Harris believes his side are ahead of schedule by qualifying for this year's Gillette Four Nations.

Wales begin their international campaign on Saturday with a warm-up game against Ireland in Neath.

The Four Nations starts a week later when they take on England in Leigh.

"We're probably three or four years ahead of schedule and didn't think we'd progress this far so soon," Harris said.

"But you take opportunities that come your way and we're looking forward to it all."

"This is our chance to be in the Welsh sporting limelight.

"It's been really difficult over the last few years playing in the second tier competitions to try and get people behind you.

"Last year, nobody expected us to go to France and win.

"This year we'll be in the same situation. We're the underdogs and there's no pressure on us whatsoever.

"This is the first elite competition we've been in for a number of years.

"We've really got try and take the opportunity with both hands and try and perform and try and establish ourselves as an elite Rugby League nation.

"There's a lot of hard work that's been done in the past for us to get where we are now and there's a lot more hard work to do."

Harris took over as Wales coach in 2009 and was an instant success.

Wales win play in the Gillette Four Nations thanks to winning the 2010 European Cup when they defied the odds to beat France 12-11 in Albi.

Harris will use as many of his squad of 24 as possible against Ireland in order to give them much-needed game time before the England encounter.

This means that Tyson Frizell, Matt Seamark and Peter Lupton are in line to win their first Welsh caps

"This is our chance to be in the Welsh sporting limelight. It's been really difficult over the last few years playing in the second tier competitions to try and get people behind you.

"Last year, nobody expected us to go to France and win. This year we'll be in the same situation. We're the underdogs and there's no pressure on us whatsoever."

Wales training squad: Chris Beasley (Central Comets), Andy Bracek (Crusaders), Lee Briers (Warrington Wolves), Neil Budworth (MacKay Cutters), Ross Divorty (Featherstone Rovers), Gil Dudson (Crusaders) Ben Flower (Crusaders), Tyson Frizell (Cronulla Sharks), Andrew Gay (South Wales Scorpions), Aled James (South Wales Scorpions), Jordan James (Crusaders), Danny Jones (Halifax) Craig Kopzcak (Bradford Bulls), Elliot Kear (Crusaders), Mark Lennon (Thirroul Butchers), Peter Lupton (Crusaders), Christiaan Roets (South Wales Scorpions), Matt Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Gareth Thomas (Crusaders), Ian Watson (Swinton Lions), Ian Webster (Central Comets), Lloyd White (Crusaders), Lee Williams (Crusaders), Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves).

Ireland Squad: Jonny Cullan (Ballynahinch Rabbitohs), Paddy Barcoe (Carlow Crusaders), Elliot Cosgrove (Dewsbury Rams), Liam Finn (Featherstone Rovers), Bob Beswick, Paul Handforth (Halifax RLFC), Greg McNally (Huddersfield Giants), Luke Ambler, Callum Casey (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Taylor (North Dublin Eagles), Paddy Boyle (Oxford Cavaliers), Tim Bergin, Pat Smith (Sheffield Eagles), Ian Cross, Aaron McCloskey (St Helens), Ged Corcoran (Toulouse Olympique), Lemeki Vaipulu (Treaty City Titans), Tyrone McCarthy (Warrington Wolves), Sean Carmody (York City Knights).

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