The Wales rugby league squad are completing their preparations for this autumn’s World Cup with a training camp based at the Celtic Manor Resort.
Head Coach Iestyn Harris is running a final rule over his players on a specially adapted training pitch created by Celtic Manor’s grounds staff alongside the Twenty Ten Course which staged golf’s Ryder Cup in 2010.
Wales kick off their 2013 Rugby League World Cup against Italy at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (Oct 26), the second game in a double header which also features a clash between England and tournament favourites Australia.
The Celtic Manor Resort is no stranger to hosting high-profile sports teams and was the final training base for Team GB’s successful track cycling team ahead of the last three Olympic Games.
Coach Harris said:
It’s great to be staying at such a world-class venue as we finalise our preparations for the World Cup. The lads have really enjoyed using the five-star facilities and we’re very impressed with the pitch that has been specially prepared so that we can train here on site.
The training pitch occupies land which provided the practice ground when Tiger Woods and the world’s best golfers descended for the Ryder Cup and now hosts Celtic Manor’s annual polo event. Greenkeepers and grounds staff, led by Director of Golf Courses Jim McKenzie, have conducted extensive drainage work, including laying 90 tons of sand, in order to create the playing surface.
Team officials have been particularly pleased with how staff have gone the extra mile to help with preparations and if you look carefully at the team photo above, you will see Celtic Manor Event Manager Michelle Jenkins invited to sit in the central position... like she's the boss!
The real Wales Team Manager Bob Wilson added:
We’re delighted to be staying at such a prestigious resort ahead of Saturday’s big opener just down the road in Cardiff and we can't praise the staff at Celtic Manor highly enough. They've done everything that we've asked for.
We had a great week in Colwyn Bay last week using the fantastic facilities at Eirias Park and we’ll be up in Wrexham next week, preparing for our second game against the USA. We’re proud that we’ve kept our training camp within Wales and we’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from Welsh companies.”
Resort Chief Executive Dylan Matthews said:
We’re thrilled to host the Wales Rugby League squad ahead of their big match on Saturday and we wish them the very best of luck for the World Cup. It’s always a pleasure to host sports teams at the Celtic Manor and see them using our facilities. We’re particularly proud to be hosting a Welsh national squad at such an important time.
For more information on the Rugby League World Cup or to buy tickets, click here