Harris seeks long-term goal for national teams

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The Independent Online

The Wales captain Iestyn Harris has called for the implementation of a full Five Nations' Championship without delay.

The Wales captain Iestyn Harris has called for the implementation of a full Five Nations' Championship without delay.

Harris will lead his country for the first time tonight when the Dragons take on the Rhinos of South Africa in a historic Test match at the rugby union stronghold of Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. The game will mark an important stage in both teams' preparation for the World Cup, which begins on Saturday week.

Harris is the second most capped player in the 24-strong Welsh squad with eight previous appearances, but it is four years since he last donned the famous red jersey and fears that the national team will be forgotten again when the World Cup ends.

The Great Britain team have been divided into England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland for the 16-nation tournament but could reunite if, as anticipated, the International Federation reinstates the Ashes tours when it meets in London next week.

"Rugby league lets itself down on the international scene," Harris said. "This is going to be a great World Cup but it's what happens after the tournament that's important. Are they going to keep the four nations and bring in France to make a Five Nations, or are they going to scrap it and go back to Great Britain touring once every blue moon?

"You don't know. It's fingers crossed that the Rugby League have got a long-term view of the big picture."

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