Wales will have to overcome the holders and the hosts if they are to qualify for the semi-finals of the Student Rugby League World Cup in July writes Ian Golden.
Wales open against holders New Zealand on Saturday 2 July, face Scotland on Wednesday 6 July and complete their group matches against Australia on Sunday 10 July. All of Wales' group matches are to be played at the Griffith University Nathan Campus ground in Brisbane.
Wayne Williams knows the task that his team has but was upbeat commenting: "We couldn't have asked for a tougher draw but we just have to knuckle down and play the best rugby of our lives. We faced Australia and Scotland last year so we know what they're like. New Zealand will be a different side since we faced them in the last World Cup so we go in there fairly blind. But playing in a World Cup in Australia will be the experience of a lifetime and we wouldn't be going out there if we didn't think we were confident that we'd do well."
The four sides in Group B are England, Ireland, France and Russia. The top two sides in each group will qualify for the semi-finals while the remaining sides will compete for the plate. Each nation will play the same amount of matches, five, during the two week tournament.
Wales will have a tough test in the first of their warm up matches as well, as they face the RAF next Wednesday 13 April at Abercynon RFC.
FULL FIXTURE LIST (all matches in Brisbane, Australia)
Either Friday 1 July or Sunday 3 July at Suncorp Stadium (To be determined by the scheduling of the Brisbane v Cronulla match)
Group B - England v France (Curtain Raiser to Brisbane Broncos v Cronulla Sharks)
Saturday 2 July at Griffith University Nathan Campus 1.00pm - Group B - Ireland v Russia 2.45pm - Group A - Australia v Scotland 4.30pm - Group A - New Zealand v Wales
Tuesday 5 July at Griffith University Nathan Campus 6.15pm - Group B - France v Russia 8.00pm - Group B - England v Ireland
Wednesday 6 July at Griffith University Nathan Campus 12.00pm - Group A - Scotland v Wales
Wednesday 6 July at Suncorp Stadium (Curtain Raiser to the 3rd State of Origin) 4.30pm - Group A - Australia v New Zealand
Saturday 9 July at Griffith University Nathan Campus 2.00pm - Group B - England v Russia 3.45pm - Group B - France v Ireland
Sunday 10 July at Griffith University Nathan Campus 2.00pm - Group A - Australia v Wales 3.45pm - Group A - New Zealand v Scotland
PLATE SEMI FINALS Tuesday 12 July at Griffith University Nathan Campus 6.15pm - PSF 1 - 3rd Pool B v 4th Pool A 8.00pm - PSF 2 - 3rd Pool A v 4th Pool B
CUP SEMI FINALS Wednesday 13 July at Arana Hills RLFC 6.30pm - CSF 1 - Winner Pool B v Second Pool A 8.15pm - CSF 2 - Winner Pool A v Second Pool B
PLATE PLAY OFF AND FINAL Friday 15 July at Aspley RLFC 6.30pm - For Positions 7 and 8 - Loser PSF 1 v Loser PSF 2 8.15pm - For Positions 5 and 6 - Winner PSF 1 v Winner PSF 2
FINAL AND 3RD PLACE PLAY OFF Saturday 16 July at Easts RLFC, Langlands Park, Brisbane 1.30pm - For Positions 3 and 4 - Loser CSF 1 v Loser CSF 2 3.15pm - WORLD CUP FINAL - Winner CSF 1 v Winner CSF 2