Wales' youngsters must grow up against England

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The Independent Online

The future of Welsh rugby league will be on show at Doncaster tonight, as a raw, young team try to give England a pre-World Cup examination.

International retirements and injuries mean that Wales' new coach, John Dixon, has named eight uncapped players in his squad, with at least six of them certain to play. They include the latest to be called up, the Great Britain student international Matt Barron from Gateshead Thunder and the Castleford reserve Rhys Griffiths, son of the league and union coach Clive Griffiths.

The side, captained by Hull KR's David Mills, is full of future potential but does not look strong enough now to test an England team, even one without its Leeds and St Helens players. Despite that limitation, full caps are being awarded to both sides.

Ireland and Tonga have both suffered blows to their World Cup plans with the loss of a key forward. The Irish had added the Melbourne and New South Wales prop Brett White to their squad when he was left out by Australia, but now his club have pulled him out with a foot injury.

Australia have selected the Sydney Roosters forward Anthony Tupou to replace Michael Crocker, who has a broken rib. Tupou had originally been named by Tonga, but the tournament organisers have ruled Australia are his first choice.

Hull's Richard Horne, who is negotiating a new contract with the club, has been diagnosed with diabetes. Horne, who played for Scotland in the 2000 World Cup, missed most of last season with a career-threatening neck injury.

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