Rugby League World Cup 2013: Wales's Iestyn Harris wary of Italy

Iestyn Harris

Head coach Iestyn Harris says Wales will have to be at their best to beat Italy in their opening game of the Rugby League World Cup on Saturday.

The Italians beat England 15-14 at the weekend and Harris said the result should serve as a warning to Wales for the game at the Millennium Stadium.

He said: "We knew about the quality of the Italians and we knew they would be a formidable task in our first game.

"I think the result they had against England confirmed that."

The Group C/D match will be Wales' third game at stadium where they the lost to New Zealand in the 2000 World Cup and then again in 2002.

"Italy are a very, very good team and they've got a lot of experience in there [and] they've got a lot of NRL experience in there," added Harris.

"They are an extremely difficult team to play against and anything outside our best won't be good enough to win that game."

England face Australia in Saturday's opening game of the tournament in Cardiff followed by Wales' clash with Italy.

Harris is relishing a return to the venue and says a successful World Cup campaign could help the game's popularity in Wales.

"To have a game at the Millennium Stadium for a Wales rugby league national side is certainly important to us," Harris said.

"I'm sure the players who take the field will be immensely proud of the fact we're at the Millennium Stadium.

"If we hit the ground running and get some momentum behind us then all of a sudden the Welsh public will start to get behind us.

"That could kick off the sport [and] ultimately we've got that responsibility."

Wales (from): Neil Budworth (Moranbah Miners), Ross Divorty (Halifax), Gil Dudson (Wigan Warriors), Jacob Emmitt (Salford Red Devils) Ben Evans (Bradford Bulls), Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves), Ben Flower (Wigan Warriors), Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons), Jordan James (Salford Red Devils), Elliot Kear (Bradford Bulls), Craig Kopzcak (Huddersfield Giants), Rhodri Lloyd (Wigan Warriors), Peter Lupton (Workington Town), Larne Patrick (Huddersfield Giants), Matt Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls), Anthony Walker (St Helens), Ian Webster (Central Queensland Capras), Lloyd White (Widnes Vikings), Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves)

Italy: Anthony Minichiello (C) (Sydney Roosters), Joshua Mantellato (Newcastle Knights), James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), Aiden Guerra (Sydney Roosters), Chris Centrone (North Sydney Bears), Ben Falcone (Souths Logan Magpies), Ryan Ghietti (Northern Pride), Anthony Laffranchi (St Helens), Dean Parata (Parramatta Eels), Paul Vaughan (Canberra Raiders), Mark Minichiello (Gold Coast Titans), Cameron Ciraldo (Penrith Panthers), Joel Riethmuller (North Queensland Cowboys)

Interchange (from): Sam Gardel (Souths Logan Magpies), Ryan Tramonte (Windsor Wolves), Brendan Santi (Wests Tigers), Raymond Nasso (Sporting Olympique Avignon), Tim Maccan (Tweed Heads Seagulls), Gavin Hiscox (Central Queensland Cappas).

Referee: Ashley Klein (Australia).

Touch-judges: Jamal Thompson (New Zealand), Jose Pereira (France).

Video Referee: Shayne Hayne (Australia)