WALES’ rugby league squad trained in Deeside for the first time yesterday to kick-off a 25-year partnership between Wales Rugby League and Flintshire County Council.
The Welsh national team will base themselves at Deeside Leisure Centre as it becomes their elite training facility.
It will also be the focal venue for North Wales age group rugby league as the WRL attempts to grow the game in Wales.
Iestyn Harris – formerly head coach of Crusaders – is currently in charge of Wales and Warrington Wolves stand-off Lee Briers is a coach after retiring from international rugby last year.
They will take the squad to the 2013 World Cup, which is being co-hosted by Wales with games being played at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.
The squad includes players from Co-operative Championship One side North Wales Crusaders including Iwan Brown, Owain Brown, Christiaan Roets and Kriss Wilkes, along with former Argoed High School pupil Rhys Williams, now with the Warrington Wolves in Super League.
Wales will play France at the Racecourse on June 16 and will prepare for the game at Deeside.
Sian Williams, manager of Deeside Leisure Centre, said: “We are extremely proud of our partnership with the WRL and have been impressed with their aspiration to get every child hooked on sport. Having Wales training here is a privilege.”
Wales head coach Harris added: “We are delighted with the excellent facilities at Deeside.
“Linking up with Deeside Leisure Centre is a step toward establishing a first class base in North Wales that our international sides can be proud of.”
Tickets for Wales v France are on sale, priced £8 for adults and £4 concessions at www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk.