Rhys Williams

Williams to captain Wales on landmark appearance

Rhys Williams will captain Wales when he makes a record-breaking 31st appearance for his country against France on Sunday. 

Williams will set a new record for appearances for the men’s senior side, surpassing former teammates Jordan James and Ian Watson. He already holds the record for most tries scored by a Welshman at men’s senior level, with 22. 

There are ten possible debutants in the 21-man squad travelling to Albi. Luis Roberts has represented Wales at both under 16 and under 19 level, while there could be first caps for Will Evans and former Wales under 19s captain, Cobi Green. The duo represented Wales in the international Nines competition in 2019 but are yet to feature in a full international. 

Wales head coach, John Kear, has also drafted in two players not in the original 30-man squad named last week. Prop, Luke Thomas, has represented Wales at age-group level and is now part of the Warrington Wolves squad. Kyle Evans is a former rugby union winger for Scarlets, who recently joined Wakefield Trinity. The 31-year-old spent three seasons in the Welsh Premiership with Llanelli where he scored 27 tries in 57 games and earned a call up to regional duty with Scarlets in the LV Cup. He later played for Merthyr and the Cardiff Blues Premiership Select side. His most recent rugby union experience came at Doncaster Knights. 

Bailey Antrobus, Jude Ferreira, Tom Hopkins, Owen Restall and Lewis Hulme are also included for their potential first Wales appearances.

Anthony Walker is in the squad having been forced into retirement on the eve of the 2017 World Cup. A scan showed an abnormality in his brain that had been there since birth, and denied him the chance of being part of the tournament. He received the all clear and began playing once again in 2020.  The game will be the first full international for Wales’ men in more than 1,300 days, since beating Ireland to qualify for the upcoming World Cup.

The squad in full: Bailey Antrobus* (York City Knights), Joe Burke (West Wales Raiders), Chester Butler (Huddersfield Giants – on loan at Bradford Bulls), Michael Butt (Swinton Lions), Connor Davies (Workington Town), Curtis Davies (Workington Town), Will Evans* (Whitehaven), Ben Evans (Bradford Bulls), Kyle Evans* (Wakefield Trinity), Jude Ferreira* (Hull FC – on loan London Broncos), Matty Fozard (Widnes Vikings), Dalton Grant (London Broncos), Cobi Green* (Rochdale Hornets), Tom Hopkins* (Barrow Raiders), Lewis Hulme* (Widnes Vikings), Elliot Kear (Bradford Bulls), Owen Restall* (Oldham Roughyeds), Luis Roberts* (Leigh Centurions), Luke Thomas* (Warrington Wolves), Anthony Walker (Bradford Bulls), Rhys Williams (c) (Salford Red Devils).  *Uncapped

Match details: France vs. Wales, Stadium Municipal d’Albi. Kick-off: 3.30pm local time, 2.30pm BST.