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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 June, 2003, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Aberavon adventure excites Kelly
Widnes and Wales coach Neil Kelly
Neil Kelly can see a bright future for rugby league in Wales
Widnes coach Neil Kelly believes his side's clash with London Broncos at Aberavon could pave the way for a rugby league breakthrough in south Wales.

Kelly is also the Wales coach and believes Sunday's game represents another opportunity to test the waters for a potential Super League franchise in the Principality.

The Broncos, who played Warrington in Newport three years ago, are taking their annual "on the road" Super League fixture to the Port Talbot area, where the 13-man code has been gradually putting down roots.

A summer six-team Welsh Conference is now in full swing, Cardiff Demons lead the South West Conference, while the Challenge Cup has found a new home in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

"We resisted one venue that was suggested but when Aberavon was put forward, obviously from my own point of view I was very keen to go there," Kelly said.

"People are putting a lot of work in down there and they're very excited about the progress that's being made.

"They're not getting carried away and making brash statements but they are busy putting foundations in place and we're looking forward to pouring a bit of petrol on the fire that they've started.

We will see a lot of players coming out of the Welsh Conference
Wales and Widnes coach Neil Kelly

"I realise that points are at stake but I think there is an onus on both teams to go down there and make a good game of it, to put on a bit of a show.

"I think a Super League team at this moment in time would be potentially very successful."

Cardiff and Swansea tried unsuccessfully to enter Super League in the 1990s and a south Wales team floundered in the old Division Two in 1996.

But Bridgend - who have a team in the new Welsh Conference - are thought to be contemplating launching a bid for 2005.

Kelly believes the new Welsh Conference, which has attracted former dual internationals John Devereux, Allan Bateman and Kevin Ellis back to league, can be a catalyst for a surge in popularity of the 13-a-side game.

Bridgend Blue Bulls are currently setting the pace in the division, which also includes Rumney Rhinos, Aberavon Fighting Irish, Torfaen Tigers, Swansea Bulls and Cynon Valley Cougars.

"I think in weeks and months to come we will see a lot of players coming out of the Conference," said Kelly, who is hoping the competition will provide a new source of talent for his international team.

Wales meet England A and Russia in the end-of-season European Nations Cup in addition to playing world champions Australia on 2 November.

Kelly is hoping to include some of the leading Conference players in his side to take on the Russians.

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