Watts ready for World Cup 9s

Posted: Wednesday 16th October 2019 - 6:26 PM


12 men’s and 4 women’s teams will play over the course of two days in Sydney this Friday and Saturday (18th & 19th October) at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney to be crowned champions in the nine-a-side variant of the sport.

After a spectacular season which saw him; take home three of Castleford Tigers’ Player of the Year Awards, shortlisted for the 2019 Man of Steel Award and called up into the England and Great Britain performance squads, Liam Watts is set to make his mark on the international stage for the first time this weekend in Sydney for England.

“Yeah it’s going to be a big event I’ve been over here in Australia before and Sydney is one of the best cities that I’ve ever come across so it will be nice to get out there playing on Friday or Saturday and really rising to the occasion.”

Travelling over to the other side of the world has resulted in the England squad needing to hit the ground quick after landing in Australia.

“It’s been good we’ve had a few intense days, training wise but it’s been nice and good to get settled in and I’m just trying to get some decent sleep patterns going!”

“Monday was really light after a lot of travel, but we had a good intense day Tuesday working on defence and attack but getting together with the lads and knowing how each other plays, so it was a good test. We’ve got another big day of training and then straight into playing on Friday and Saturday, we’ve not had that many sessions together but these sorts of tournaments don’t allow that anyway but there is a bigger picture at the end of it."

Castleford Tigers are well represented in the World Cup 9s tournament with two of our men’s First Team being selected in Liam Watts & Jake Trueman. Amongst the women playing for England there are six Castleford Tigers players; Sinead Peach, Shona Hoyle, Tara Stanley, Rhiannon Marshall, Georgia Roche & Woman of Steel nominee Kelsey Gentles.

Liam Watts might be one of the new player faces in the international setup but he’s being coached by a former Cas teammate who is also fresh to the international coaching stage, Danny Ward. Danny is one of Head Coach Wayne Bennett’s assistants for the Autumn internationals and took charge of one England’s training sessions in Australia.

“I used to play with Wardy at Cas, well I mean I was in the squad as him so I know him pretty well and it’s a new challenge for him as well, getting to know everybody and bring some new ideas to the camp which will hopefully help us.”

Following on from the World Cup 9s tournament the Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea will begin, bringing back the Lions for the first time since 2007. This past Monday afternoon the 24-man touring squad was announced with Jake Trueman making the list but unfortunately not Liam Watts, despite this he is determined to impress Wayne Bennett and stake his claim for a spot in the World Cup in 2021.

“Obviously I’m disappointed but it’s just one of them things, I’m not going to get my head down about it I’m going to stay positive and just keep training and working hard and try to make an impression on Wayne and his coaching staff, that’s the bigger picture here. For me, moving forward, I’m just going to keep trying to give my best and be in a good frame of mind.”

“There’s a bigger progression in this, obviously not making the Great Britain team is disappointing but in the bigger scale there is the World Cup in 2021 and that is my real focus moving forward here. I’ve got my foot in the door here and I want to give myself every chance, keep playing well and keep in the good books.”

All 28 matches across both days will be shown on Sky Sports Arena and Main Event, below are the UK times of broadcast for both the England women’s and men’s fixtures.

Friday 18th October

England Women vs PNG Women – 8.45am

England vs Wales – 9.10am

Saturday 19th October

England vs Lebanon – 2.20am

Australia Women vs England Women – 4.35am

England vs France – 5.25am

New Zealand Women vs England Women – 8.05am

Men’s Semi-Final – 8.55am and 9.20am

Women’s Final – 9.45am

Men’s Final – 11am

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