Noble wishes Wales luck
New Crusaders coach Brian Noble has wished Wales luck for this Sunday when they take on Scotland in the rugbyleague.com European Cup Final at the Brewery Field in Bridgend (kick-off 4pm).
The former Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors coach has watched both of Wales’ group games, an 88-8 win in Serbia followed by a stunning 42-12 victory over Ireland in Pontypridd last Sunday, and has been especially impressed with the young Welsh talent that he will be working with in 2010.
“I’m very excited about what is happening in Wales,” said Noble. “With the exception of a few Super League games at the end of last season, a lot of the Crusaders youngsters are playing at a better level than they’re normally used to and are doing well. They’re still unpolished diamonds if you like and we’ve got to make sure we cultivate them properly.
“A lot of the Crusaders players have been doing very well. For example, Jordan James has been giving his all and you can see the potential of lads like Elliot Kear and Lloyd White. I’m looking forward to coming down and coaching all of them. We can attract more and more talent like them and my hopes are that eventually three quarters of the first team will be Welsh.
“We need a good Welsh national side. Wales didn’t qualify for last year’s World Cup which was a major shock for everyone, but the building process has started again and it’s fantastic to see them in the Final of a major competition. Wales should now have aspirations, not just for a Four Nations place in 2011 but an automatic World Cup spot in 2013.”
Noble has been impressed with how Wales coach Iestyn Harris has turned the team around. Harris will be an assistant to Noble at the Crusaders in 2010 and the two have been in regular communication over the past few weeks.
“I’ve spoken to Iestyn on several occasions during this international campaign,” Noble adds. “He’s had a lot of good help around him and I know Iestyn to be a smart person, that’s why he’s on the Crusaders staff for 2010. He knows all the technical aspects of the game and I can see how well he’s transferring them to the coaching side.”
Harris has been impressed with all the youngsters in the side and recognises the first class structure that is in Welsh Rugby League at the moment. Crusaders’ under 18 side won the Gillette National Youth League last season, Wales’ under 18 side are the current British and European Champions while Wales Students and Wales A also won their respective Home Nations competitions in 2009.
“The Crusaders youngsters had to learn fast at the end of last season and that’s helped us in this tournament,” Harris said. “There’s a conveyor belt under the system in Welsh Rugby League now and we’re starting to see the youngsters coming through. We especially saw that last Sunday against Ireland. There’s more underneath them too. For example, young Rhys and Ben Evans, who are with Warrington, were in the squad. They’re only 16 and they’re great prospects for the future so there’s good players coming through and we’ve had to give them a lot of teaching in the first three weeks of the tournament. They’re really starting to come together and hopefully we’ll go well again against Scotland at the Brewery Field this Sunday.”
Tickets for rugbyleague.com European Cup Finals Day this Sunday, which culminates with Wales v Scotland in the European Cup Final, can be bought by going to www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling 0844 856 1155.