24th February 2017, 10:50
MEET THE TEAM: Elliot Kear
Counting down to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup this autumn, we take a look at another Wales star in Elliot Kear.
With a heart as big as a lion, fast feet and supberb handling skills, Cardiff-born ELLIOT KEAR will be another strong favourite to play for Wales later this year in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
From a young age Elliot Kear has always mixed with the very best. As a child sitting alongside him in class at Whitchurch High were Gareth Bale, the late Tom Maynard and Sam Warburton.
PICTURE - Top row left-right, Elliot, Sam and Gareth in Whitchurch High's School of Fame, with another Wales under 18 RL international Scott Fitzgerald pictured below them.
Whilst Bale chose the 11-man game, Bale did play in the same rugby union side in school with both Maynard, who went onto play cricket like his dad, and Warburton who went on to captain Wales in rugby union.
They are pictured here in 1999 for the Cardiff RFC under 11s team - On the back row is Warburton (third right) and Maynard (first right) and on the second row is Kear (first left) and current Super League star and fellow Wales Rugby League international Lloyd White (second right). What a team!
The 28-year old Kear has made his name at the highest level of Rugby League, playing in Super League for Celtic Crusaders and Bradford Bulls. PICTURE - Elliot tackling Leeds Rhinos' Joel Moon.
He has made 21 appearances for Wales, the seventh highest of all time, scoring 11 tries, fourth on the list behind Rhys Williams, Christiaan Roets and Iestyn Harris. Three of those international tries came in one game, against Scotland in 2010, when Wales were on their way to winning the Rugby League European Cup. The first was one of the great Wales tries of all time.
Spotted playing rugby league for Cardiff Demons youth side by then Celtic Crusaders coach John Dixon, Kear had an outstanding first two years at the Crusaders in the reserves side. PICTURE - Elliot playing his very first game of rugby league after joining Cardiff Demons.
He was finally rewarded with a first team debut against Leeds Rhinos in August 2009 where he was named the side's man of the match. PICTURE - Elliot in action against Leeds in Newport on his Super League debut.
He previously represented Wales under 18 and Wales Dragonhearts and his performances were again pointed out as stand out when he made his Wales debut in 2009, helping them to win the European Cup. PICTURE - Elliot scoring against Scotland in Bridgend in the 2009 European Cup Final.
Following his stints in Super League, he temporarily crossed codes and played in the Aviva Premiership with London Welsh. He returned to rugby league with the London Broncos whom he still plays for in the RFL Championship playing alongside four other Wales internationals; Ben Evans, Dalton Grant, Rhys Williams and Michael Channing. He has also enjoyed loan spells at South Wales Scorpions and London Skolars during his career. PICTURE - Following a London Broncos v Sheffield Eagles match in Blackpool in 2016.
Elliot points out playing in the Four Nations in 2011 as his career highlight so far, where he scored tries against England and Australia. Hopefully, a good run in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup will increase both his appearance and try count for his home country. PICTURE - Elliot's try for Wales against England in Leigh.
His family have always supported him throughout his career and his immensely proud dad Gareth Kear, himself a former rugby player and American footballer, can be spotted in the crowd most match days cheering his boy on. PIC - Elliot with his dad after Wales qualified for the World Cup last year.
Now he has a family of his own. He is engaged and has two young children, Harrison and Darcie born in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
Name: Elliot Kear
Current club: London Broncos
Former School: Whitchurch High School
Eligibility: Born in Cardiff, South Wales
Date of Birth: 29/11/1988
Wales Heritage #452. Caps: 21. Tries: 11. Points: 44. Debut: 17/10/2009. Most recent cap: 29/10/2016.
FOLLOW ELLIOT ON TWITTER: @Kear53
Wales' next game will be away against Papua New Guniea in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup starting in October. Wales enter the tournament six games unbeaten and as current European Champions however have some mouthwatering opposition in their three opening group games. Click here for a full World Cup fixture list and to buy tickets.
Opening 2017 Rugby League World Cup Games:
28th October Papua New Guinea v Wales Port Moresby, PNG
5th November Fiji v Wales Townsville, Australia
12th November Wales v Ireland Perth, Australia
For details on how to sponsor Wales in their World Cup campaign, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research and words by Ian Golden