Dragonhearts to host Lithuania in Cardiff

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Wales Dragonhearts will host Lithuania at the Cardiff Arms Park in what will  be the visitors’ first game.

The Lithuanian side was only founded in January, and are now preparing to take on Wales’ best community players.

Whilst most players are based in England, all bar one were born in Lithuania, meaning this could be the start of a fresh pool of players.

Matthew Wright, Managing Director of Lietuva Rugby League, said: “Word of our success in the London 9s made it back home and has sparked major interest in the sport after featuring in Tiesa (one of Lithuania’s biggest publications) and many more media outlets. The playing group has only been together a short period of time but has impressed with their skill and commitment to the team.

“Chris Coates, our head coach, has shown great commitment in getting the boys ready, whether it’s been running individual sessions or group sessions. He’s incredibly dedicated to his role and has really taken his appointment in his stride.

“Our dream is to have a fully-fledged domestic competition in Lithuania for both men and women with clear pathways into professional sport for both and celebrate Lithuania’s proud history every time someone is called up to the national team.”

Meanwhile, the Dragonhearts are looking to make it back to back wins this autumn after a 26-20 win over the Southern England Lionhearts last time out.

They make seven changes from that game as Kurtis Haille, Ben Jones, Jarad Hinnem and Craig Lewis return, with potential debuts awaiting Paul Welch, Tom Matthews and Liam Silver.

Wales Head Coach Ian Newbury said: “It’s great to be bringing a game to BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, and especially such a historic one with Lithuania fielding a team for the first time on the international stage.

“It promises to be a great occasion and one we’ve been working really hard towards. We had a good run out against Southern England recently, but that game was played with six substitutes and unlimited interchange.

“I’m looking forward to this game – a full international being played with proper international rules so we can see exactly where we’re at before we travel to face England Lions next week.”

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