Two full-time Welsh rugby league clubs achievable - John Kear

By Aled WilliamsBBC Wales Sport
John Kear
John Kear has also coached Wakefield and Hull

Wales rugby league coach John Kear believes the country can sustain two full-time sides.

Ex-England coach Kear will lead Wales for the first time later this month at the European Championship against Scotland, France and Ireland.

Kear's squad includes players from Wales' semi-pro sides North Wales Crusaders and South Wales Scorpions.

"Full-time in north and south Wales is achievable and achievable in the near future," he said.

Crusaders, who were a full-time outfit during a three-year spell in Super League, were relegated from the Championship at the end of the season.

They will join fellow Welsh side Scorpions, formed in 2009, in Championship One next season.

Kear, who is also head coach at Championship club Batley, says Wales have players who can make the step up to the full-time game.

Wales rugby league World Cup
Wales were beaten 28-24 by Cook Islands in last year's World Cup

"I certainly think there's the quality of rugby player in both north and south Wales," Kear added.

"These Welsh players who are playing for the Scorpions and the few that play in north Wales, there's some good players there.

"If they were exposed to a full-time environment, believe you me, they wouldn't be far off playing Super League."

Kear has named a 23-man squad for the European Championships.

Under Kear's predecessor Iestyn Harris, Wales had a disappointing 2013 World Cup, as they failed to reach the quarter-finals after three defeats.

The new coach wants to see improved performances during the European Championships as he plans for the 2017 World Cup.

"2017 is at the back of everybody's mind," Kear added.

"First of all we've got to qualify for that so we need to make sure that the results are improving all the time.

"Let's see where we are. We might not win all three but we'll surprise one or two people with our play."

Wales face Scotland in their opening game in Workington on 17 October before travelling to Albi, France on 25 October.

Kear's side host Ireland in their final game of the tournament at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground on 2 November.