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Monday, 6 November, 2000, 15:37 GMT
Devereux raring to go
Devereux on the charge
John Devereux in rugby league action for Great Britain
Former Great Britain centre John Devereux today took up the challenge of lifting Wales for the knockout stages of the Lincoln World Cup.

The veteran Bridgend man bolstered coach Clive Griffiths' depleted squad for next Sunday's quarter-final at the Auto Quest Stadium, Widnes, against the winners of the French group.

The 34-year-old Devereux, who was among the host of top rugby union stars who helped Wales reach the World Cup semi-finals in 1995, has received permission from Bridgend to join Griffiths' squad for the rest of the tournament.

He watched Sunday's crushing 58-18 defeat by New Zealand at the Millennium Stadium and is hoping to get the call for the crunch clash with France, Papua New Guinea or Tonga.

I'd love to get involved in some form next weekend if selected

John Devereux

"I'd love to get involved in some form next weekend if selected," he said.

"We have a week between games and that gives me time to work on a few things and get my eye in.

"It's been trying to happen for a few weeks but I had commitments with Bridgend, he explained.

But Bridgend do not have another game for three weeks, allowing Devereux the chance to make a World Cup impact.

Knockout stages

The withdrawal of prop David Whittle with a neck injury means Wales coach Clive Griffiths may make a renewed attempt to acquire Swansea flanker Paul Moriarty.

Like Devereux, Moriarty was in the Welsh team that reached the World Cup semi-finals five years ago.

They lined up alongside fellow union internationals Jonathan Davies, Scott Gibbs, Scott Quinnell, Allan Bateman and David Young as Wales qualified for the knockout stages, only to lose 25-10 to England in front of a 30,000 crowd at Old Trafford.

I never envisaged playing league again but when I realised the World Cup was coming to Wales again I thought 'crumbs, I'd love a bit of that'

John Devereux

"It was the culmination of four good years from getting the side back together in 1991," said Devereux.

"It was a very strong squad with a lot of ex-rugby union players in it. I remember we brought a big following from down in the valleys for the semi-final."

Devereux returned to union with Sale in 1997 and, after two years with the Manchester club, went back to his old club Bridgend last year.

"That's how I expected to finish off my career," he said.

"I never envisaged playing league again but when I realised the World Cup was coming to Wales again I thought 'crumbs, I'd love a bit of that'.

"Rugby union is a professional game now and we train just as hard as the rugby league boys. It's a matter of getting used to the different intensity levels."

Devereux collected 10 Welsh caps during his spell with Widnes from 1991-96, played six times for Great Britain and was in the losing British team in the 1992 World Cup final at Wembley. end


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See also:

06 Nov 00 | Wales
06 Nov 00 | Knock-Out
05 Nov 00 | Group 2
05 Nov 00 | Group 2
04 Nov 00 | Welsh-Scottish Rugby
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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