Two big new recruits for Wales
01st April 2017, 11:59
Former Australian Rugby League internationals Andrew and Mathew “Matty” Johns are coming out of retirement to play for Wales in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
The famous Johns brothers, who are amongst the greatest players to ever play the sport, qualify through their Welsh grandfather who moved from the Rhondda Valley to Australia over a century ago.
Wales Rugby League’s Head of Recruitment Jestalot Ironcru said: “It is well publicised we spoke to Matty about playing for Wales in the 2000 World Cup and Andrew was approached by the WRU about their 2007 World Cup, however it didn’t happen. The allure of the famous red jersey though has lit a fire inside them both and they are very excited.
“Andrew Johns is desperate for a third World Cup winners medal, has always spoken proudly of his Welsh heritage and loves surfing off Rest Bay in Porthcawl. So much so his only fee for playing for Wales this year is a new wax for his beloved surfboard.”
A close friend of the brothers in Australia said: “They are really excited about the opportunity to play for Wales in the World Cup and their fellow presenters on Australian television have already agreed to help them get back to peak performance levels.
“Andrew is a co-presenter on Channel Nine’s Rugby League coverage and already the Footy Show’s Paul “Fatty” Vautin and Darryl “Big Marn” Brohman have agreed to assist with Andrew’s diet and fitness in the lead up to the World Cup. They are both keen on setting Andrew a series of challenges that will ensure he gets a similar body shape to theirs. Fatty said this would also allow Andrew to become a forward and give coach John Kear more options.
“Matty presents his own show two nights a week on Fox Sports in Australia and can’t wait to get back into action. Already we’re hearing that Nathan Hindmarsh and Gordon “Raging Bull” Tallis have offered to become his personal trainers. Tallis is also going to share his famous “twirl and drag” tackle technique with Matty so he can get some of the smaller players into touch and give Wales the advantage.
“When the tournament takes place Matty will be 46 and Andrew 43, so it is going to take some dedication. Current Wales international Christiaan Roets will only be a few years younger so they already have their inspiration.”
Wales Head Coach John Kear said “We would be a fool not to consider the Johns brothers however it is important they get some match practice in before our first World Cup game against Papua New Guinea. I’ve given them both a deadline of midday today, UK time, to find a club”
An unnamed agent who is working with the players said “With today’s midday deadline approaching, a host of NRL clubs have already stated their interest in the duo. Parramatta Eels are the favourites, salary cap allowing of course, whilst Brisbane Broncos are also said to be interested. The fact Brisbane head coach Wayne Bennett is also the coach of bitter rivals England however may be problematic.
“Clubs from the UK are also showing an interest. Ideally they would play for one of the two Welsh professional clubs, Ironmen or Crusaders but they unfortunately wouldn’t fit in under the League 1 salary cap.
“Super League’s Warrington Wolves are very keen in resigning Andrew Johns and club owner Simon Moran has even talked about a record deal for the brothers, likening them to the Proclaimers.
“With lots of options on the table everyone is in for a busy few hours before the 12 noon BST deadline.”