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Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Sunday, 5 September 2010 16:10 UK

Welsh rugby league star enjoys winning feeling

by Steffan Garrero
BBC Sport Wales

Lee Briers produced a stand-off master-class in the Challenge Cup final for Warrington
Lee Briers produced a stand-off master-class in the Challenge Cup final for Warrington

Lee Briers cuts a contented figure as he leans back in his chair in the stand of the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The swelling has gone down on thick lip he suffered in the Challenge Cup final when the Warrington Wolves stand-off's command performance stood out in their 30-6 triumph over Leeds Rhinos.

It was the most complete game he has put together since he pulled the strings of the Welsh side against Australia in 2000. Wales lost that one 46-22, but had the future World Champions on the ropes thanks to the unpredictable talent of Briers.

Ten years on and the Wembley crowd witnessed another master-class of puppeteering which earned him the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match

"It didn't really sink in until I went to the Lance Todd Trophy Dinner. The more the days are going on the more you appreciate the special thing that we've just done," he told BBC Sport Wales

"I've made no bones about it that it was one of my goals to win it, it's one of the best honours you can win in the game, and to do it with a special bunch of lads makes it better."

The only blot on the copybook was fellow Welshman Jonathan Davies tipping hat-trick hero Chris Hicks to be given the Trophy during the BBC's commentary.

I think that because Warrington hadn't been successful and people see you having a drink, they think you shouldn't be

Lee Briers

"I were proper gutted when I heard Jiffy say that! I was watching the game back the other night. But I can see where he was coming from, Hicksy could have won it and so could Ryan Atkins. I'll ask Jiff about that next time I see him..."

The 32-year-old is a calmer person than the one who penned back the Kangaroos in Huddersfield a decade ago.

Over the years he was dubbed Lee Beers by opposing fans. A solitary Great Britain cap, earned against France in Agen in 2003, is testament to an unfulfilled talent. Supremely gifted, but flawed in other ways.

"Too much has been made of that. I've never been as bad as people think. Granted, I've probably 'celebrated' defeats harder than I celebrated winning the Challenge Cup, but so long as the people who matter respect me and haven't been affected by things then I'm okay with it.

"I think that because Warrington hadn't been successful and people see you having a drink, they think you shouldn't be. I dare say if I went for a pint right now no one would think anything of it; it's all about perceptions."

His Warrington team-mates are training as we chat, while Briers is being rested for the final round of the regular Super League season.

"We've got a brilliant squad now, so five guys can be changed from the cup final team and we can rest up for the play-offs.

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"The double is the dream. We've been playing so well for the past six or seven weeks and if we can keep up that form and take it into the play-offs then who knows."

Briers is happy with what he's achieved in the game. The nagging regrets that occupy the minds of keen observers do not seem to impact on the man himself. But he is re-thinking one decision he made.

"I've been chatting with Iestyn Harris and the rest of the Welsh coaching staff and if my body pulls through the play-offs okay then I'd love to pull on the Welsh shirt again."

Briers won the last of his 18 caps in the 2007 World Cup Qualifier defeat against Lebanon, but has been impressed with Harris' rebuilding job.

"What they did last year, winning the European Championship, was amazing. I had some brilliant times with Wales and it was such an honour to be involved."

The lure of helping Wales to qualify for the 2011 Four Nations is one of the factors behind the re-think. A chance to play alongside Crusaders wing Gareth Thomas is another.

"He's a legend of Welsh sport and he's doing great things in Wrexham. To link up with him would be brilliant."

Having won the Lance Todd, perhaps the Briers of old would have put his feet up for the rest of the season. The new model is keen to achieve more with Warrington and, perhaps, with Wales.



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see also
Homecoming for Warrington Wolves
29 Aug 10 |  Liverpool
Wolves expect further improvement
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Leeds 6-30 Warrington
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
The road to Wembley
26 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Challenge Cup final photos
28 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Australia 46-22 Wales
19 Nov 00 |  AudioVideo
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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