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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 15:32 GMT
League set for five nations
Wales' Iestyn Harris
Wales' performances in the World Cup have impressed RFL bosses
Super League and Rugby Football League officials are to hold talks about setting up a Five Nations championship in the future.

Wales reached the semi-final of this year's World Cup and stunned Australia for an hour of the game at Huddersfield on Sunday.

Ireland too were involved in a titanic battle against England in the quarter-final.

"One thing we have found through splitting the home nations for the World Cup is players who have international potential," said RFL spokesman John Huxley.


We would need a suitable gap and we are talking to Super League about getting that gap
  John Huxley

"The one way of giving players international experience is to give them international fixtures.

"That is one reason why we must continue with the Welsh side," Huxley continued.

One problem a Five Nations tournament would encounter is finding a gap in a congested Super League season.

"We would need a suitable gap and we are talking to Super League about getting that gap," Huxley said.

Wales skipper Iestyn Harris wants officials to go further and set up a club side in Wales.

"If a club is not set up in Wales, within two or three years we will have no players left," he said.

"If we had a team in Wales, it would have an academy, which would help bring more players into the game," said Harris.

Iestyn Harris
Iestyn Harris wants Wales to have a club side

Wales manager Mike Nicholas is adamant the concept of a franchise being awarded to Wales can be revived.

"If we had been allowed to create a side, it would have been called `Team Wales' and we would have taken it all over the country," he said.

"Even in this competition, we received fantastic support from the people of north Wales, and Wrexham is an area where we could take some matches given the opportunity.

"It is not too far from the heartlands but it is a new area and one which is generally starved of top class sport," Nicholas concluded.

Huxley revealed the RFL had not ruled out the possibility of establishing a club in Wales.


We would love to succeed in Wales and live alongside rugby union and we believe it is one way forward for the sport of rugby
  John Huxley

"One problem with the franchise is that we have to have someone in the country prepared to put up the capital," Huxley said.

"We have had our fingers burnt in the past with clubs emerging and then having no capital for long-term growth," he continued.

One option may be to follow the example of Leeds Rhinos rugby league side and Leeds Tykes rugby union team, who are part of the same company.

The idea appealed to Huxley.

"We would love to succeed in Wales and live alongside rugby union and we believe it is one way forward for the sport of rugby," he said.

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See also:

19 Nov 00 |  World Cup 2000
Griffiths: We deserve respect
20 Nov 00 |  Wales
Pearson becomes a Wildcat
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Aussies outlast valiant Wales
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Sullivan calls for action
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