WALES captain Craig Kopczak said yesterday that he is hoping to make a celebration of the 10th anniversary of his international debut when John Kear’s men launch their World Cup campaign today.
The Salford prop will win his 20th cap against Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Port Moresby, 10 years to the day since he collected his first — coincidentally against the same opponents — and is hoping for another dominant win.
Wales eventually lost out to Scotland in qualifying for the 2008 tournament and have not won a World Cup match since defeating PNG 22-8 in Widnes in 2000.
Kopczak knows the odds are stacked against his side, who also face group games against Fiji and Ireland.
Wales’s fortunes have gone in an upward curve since Kear took the helm after the last World Cup, Kopczak leading them to European Championship success in 2015 and World Cup qualification last autumn.
Halifax centre or second rower Chester Butler, nephew of former Wales international Colin Dixon, is set to make his debut.