Ireland head coach Mark Aston has finalised his 19-man squad which will face Fiji tomorrow in the Rugby League World Cup in Rochdale.
Aston has gone for a healthy balance of youth and experience with the inclusion of up and coming stars such as Api Pewhairangi, James Hasson and James Mendeika being complimented of the experience of four time NRL Grand Finalist Brett White, Liam Finn, Pat Richards, Damien Blanch and Scott Grix.
With three teams going through the pool the meeting with the Bati is a vital game for Aston’s Wolfhounds and he has selected the strongest squad possible for the game.
Speaking on his selection Aston said: “The boys who have been selected showed up pretty well in training. It’s exciting with a lot of new faces and a lot of people with exciting things to bring into the squad.
“The new players are going to bring a new dimension to the squad and I’m delighted that James Mendeika gets the nod as well he’s matured into a fine young player. We’ve a lot of players with a lot of youth in them and that’s important going into a World Cup.”
He also commented on his sides opposition saying: “They’re big strong and quick and have some outstanding outside backs who have played in the NRL.
“They’ve got the three Sims and Petero Civoniceva who are quality players. They’ll be big and strong up front and quick out back so we’ve got to be good. We’ve got a game plane and we’ve got to stick to that.”
Aston’s 19-man squad will take on Fiji tomorrow evening at 8pm with the winner of the fixture set to go into joint top spot after Australia defeated England in the opening fixture at the Millennium Stadium.
Ireland squad: Dave Allen, Luke Ambler, Bob Beswick, Damien Blanch, Danny Bridge, Ben Currie, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Kurt Haggerty, James Hasson, Rory Kostjasyn, Stuart Littler, James Mendeika, Tyrone McCarthy, Anthony Mullally, Eamon O’Carroll, Apirana Pewhairangi, Pat Richards, Brett White.