Wales and Jamaica to play for Billy Boston Cup


WALES and Jamaica are set to play for the Billy Boston Cup at some stage before next year’s World Cup in England.

New WRL chief executive Gareth Kear is concentrating on inclusivity as a theme in the valleys and says recognising the achievements of Boston, now 85, is an important pillar in his approach.

Wales, along with other European nations, have abandoned plans for autumn internationals due to COVID-19.

“We were due to play Jamaica at the end of this year,” Kear tells Long Reads.

“That’s something we’re potentially looking at and if that doesn’t go ahead this year, we’ll definitely be playing Jamaica hopefully next year as part of a celebration of diversity.

“We’re hopefully going to be playing for something called the Billy Boston Cup to celebrate all our black heritage players and that would form part of what we’re trying to do as part of our preparation for the World Cup.”

Kear says the Welsh government have been impressed with his organisation’s community engagement and his hopeful of a lift in funding in an era when most sports are suffering reductions.

“I think in the past Wales Rugby League have been very focused on their men’s international side,” he said.

“My personal view is that that’s perhaps a bit of a narrow vision. I’ve worked with Sport Wales in the past and one of the things I’m keen to do is to build on being inclusive as a sport.

“We launched last year and international women’s pathway. As I say, the foundation for that now is club sides for women and for girls. We’re building with our wheelchair teams. We’re now going to have four new community wheelchair teams in south Wales and potentially two more in north Wales.

“And also physical disability rugby league and learning disability rugby league. So when I sit down in front of Sport Wales and Welsh government and tell them all the things that we’re doing, they lean backwards in their chair because as a sport, rugby league is the most accessible sport to the community.”

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