Wales focused on reaching Rugby League World Cup - coach John Kear

Wales' Matt Seamark in action against the United States at the 2013 World Cup
Wales lost all three group games at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup

Wales coach John Kear says reaching next year's Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand would be "a once-in-a-lifetime experience".

Wales have discovered who their opponents will be should they qualify for the tournament, which will be held between 27 October and 2 December 2017.

But they must first come through a qualifying group containing Serbia and Italy.

"Our focus now is to qualify," Kear said.

"Once we've done that, we can put our energy and resources into progressing."

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Wales, who won the 2015 European Championships, host Serbia in Llanelli on Saturday, 15 October and Italy in Monza two weeks later.

The group winners will qualify for the finals, while the runners-up will face the second-placed side in the group containing Ireland, Spain and Russia in a play-off in Leigh on 4 November.

Kear said: "I'm excited by this autumn's games and, should we be successful, which I'm confident we will be, then the World Cup in Australia will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for players, officials and supporters alike."

Should Wales win their qualifying group, they will face Papua New Guinea and either Ireland, Spain or Russia in Group C as well as an inter-group match against Fiji.

If they qualify via the play-offs they will be in Group D along with Fiji and the United States and will face Ireland, Spain or Russia in an inter-group match.

"All the games we could be playing in the World Cup will be very difficult," said Kear.

"But that's why you go into World Cups, to test yourself."

Wales, under former coach Iestyn Harris, failed to reach the World Cup quarter-finals in 2013 after defeats by Italy, the US and the Cook Islands.

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