24th August 2017, 10:47
MEET THE TEAM: Danny Ansell
Hunslet's Danny Ansell is the next player to feature in our MEET THE TEAM series ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2017.
If you rewind to last October, Danny Ansell experienced a week in his life that can probably be best described as a bit crazy.
On a Tuesday, he received a phone call off Wales Rugby League. Two days later, he was on a plane to Italy. One day after that, he had his first training session - a team run - with Wales. And only four days after he first had contact with Wales officials, he helped his country to World Cup qualification.
With an injury-hit squad, Wales' performance in Italy was nothing short of outstanding and Ansell, like everybody in the squad, more than played his part.
It was through Barry Eaton, Ansell's uncle who has represented Wales, that discussions began for him to link up with the squad.
Danny kicks for goal during Hunslet's clash with Keighley
"It really was a bit of a shock; I didn't expect any of it," he admitted.
"I was at work and I had a call from an unknown number.
"I don't normally answer calls from unknown numbers so it's a good job I did answer.
"There has always been a relationship between myself and Wales.
"My uncle Barry played in the 2000 World Cup and my grandmother was born and bred in Wales.
"She has always expected me to play for Wales, as she did with my uncle."
Born in Wakefield, Ansell began his rugby league career in the heartlands at the age of six.
From the point that he took up the sport, he spent ten years in total as a junior at local amateur club Stanley Rangers.
At the age of 16, he was picked up by Super League club Huddersfield Giants and featured in their academy sides.
Three years later, he moved across Yorkshire and signed a deal with Wakefield Trinity.
After two years on the books at Belle Vue, he switched to the semi-professional game with Hunslet, who were in the Championship when he joined them.
Ansell has been with Hunslet ever since and is currently in his fourth season at the club.
In his first campaign for Hunslet in 2013, he made nine appearances in all competitions. Although he didn't cross for any tries, he chipped in with goals and finished on ten points for the season.
It was the following year in League 1 that Ansell began to feature more prominently. Making 16 appearances in all, he bagged a couple of tries and was the recognised kicker, recording 67 points across the year.
Since then, he has become an integral part of the side and has racked up over 20 appearances in the last two season, scoring an impressive 12 tries in 2016.
Danny with his grandparents
This season, he has carried on his fine form and is key to Hunslet's game management from the halves.
On the current campaign, he said: "It's been alright, but it's been a bit up and down in places.
"We're not where we wanted to be as we're competing in the League 1 Shield rather than the Super 8s.
"But we're battling on and aiming to do our best in the Shield.
"Personally, I'm happy with how I've been playing and I just hope that I'm called upon at the end of the season.
"I'd love nothing more than to represent Wales in a World Cup."
Ten months on from being thrown in the deep end, Ansell finds himself in Wales' 38-man train-on squad from the World Cup.
Danny with his mates
Now that he is in the picture to represent Wales, he will no doubt be hoping to finish the campaign strongly and impress head coach John Kear.
If he does make the final squad, one thing for certain is that he won't be scrambling for his passport like last year.
Name: Danny Ansell
Current club: Hunslet
Community club: Stanley Rangers
Eligibility: Born in Wakefield. Eligible through his grandmother
Date of birth: 09/10/91
Wales heritage: #509; Wales caps: 1; first and last Wales appearance: 29/10/16
SEE DANNY'S FULL WALES RECORD HERE
YOU CAN FOLLOW DANNY ON TWITTER: @ansell_6
YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW DANNY ON INSTAGRAM: @dannyansell
Wales' group matches at Rugby League World Cup 2017 are as follows:
PAPUA NEW GUINEA V WALES
Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby
FIJI V WALES
WALES V IRELAND
Perth Rectangular Stadium
Danny with his girlfriend
Get behind the boys at the World Cup by purchasing the new replica kit! Visit the online shop HERE.
Article by Ryan Gould
Images from Danny Ansell and Ian Lovell