12th September 2017, 09:10
MEET THE TEAM: Rhodri Lloyd
Swinton Lions' Rhodri Lloyd is the latest player to feature in our MEET THE TEAM series ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2017.
Lloyd has already made history with Wales: when he made his debut back in October 2010, he became the youngest player to do so at the age of 17 years, two months and 14 days.
Now 24, he has gone on to record a further 11 caps for Wales to date, featuring prominantly for the national team over the last half a decade or so.
Rhodri with his girlfriend after a match
At the time of his first cap, he was on the books of the old Crusaders RL club and had been playing in the academy.
Before that, he had spent time with rugby union club Newport Gwent Dragons and represented Wales in rugby league at U16s and U18s level.
Despite not making a first-team appearance during his time with Crusaders, he did make his break on to the professional scene with South Wales Scorpions (now known as Ironmen) in 2011, recording 12 appearances for them in League 1 during the season.
In the same year, he also featured for his school - Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni - in the sixth form final at Wales Rugby League's finals day having played right through the years in Champion Schools.
Ahead of 2012, Lloyd joined Super League giants Wigan Warriors, where there were familiar faces in former Crusaders players Ben Flower and Gil Dudson.
During his first year with the Warriors, he featured three times and made his Super League debut at Leeds Rhinos in the June.
Due to Wigan's dual-registration partnership with South Wales, he also played on three occasions for the Scorpions.
He represented Wales three times in 2012: two internationals with France - in mid-season and autumn - and one with England.
Rhodri, Lewis Reece and Ollie Olds celebrate winning the European Championship
On the club front, along with a further six appearances for South Wales in 2013, Lloyd spent time on loan with London Broncos in Super League and Leigh in the Championship, while he turned out for Wigan twice.
Ahead of 2014, he joined neighbours Widnes Vikings on a one-year loan and made five appearances for Denis Betts' men.
The following year, Lloyd played in two further matches for Wigan and had three different loan spells with Whitehaven, Workington and Swinton.
He appeared for Whitehaven on six occasions, played in the same number of matches for Workington and then finished the season with Swinton, who he helped to win promotion from League 1 to the Championship after scoring nine tries in 12 matches.
In the autumn, he won the European Championship with Wales, appearing in all three matches against Scotland, France and Ireland.
For 2016, he made his loan switch to Swinton a permanent one and was ever present in the side last term, scoring ten tries in 24 matches.
He was involved once again with Wales in the close season, playing his part in the qualification for Rugby League World Cup 2017.
So far this season, Lloyd has continued to be a key player for the Lions, who have now all but secured their place in the Championship for 2018, despite some off-field issues.
"It's been a tough year," Lloyd admitted. "It's been tough both on and off the field.
"But I feel like I've still been improving and I've been playing at both centre and back-row, where I normally play for Wales.
"I'm happy with how everything's been going on the field for me. I've been correcting any errors and kicking on."
Rhodri on holiday
If Lloyd features in a second World Cup this autumn, it would be a "dream come true".
"To play out in Australia would be fantastic," he said.
"Hopefully, we can progress and surprise a few teams along the way.
"If we could get to a quarter-final, it would be brilliant and everybody will want to keep that unbeaten streak going."
When Lloyd plays for Wales, he normally raises his game and has been key for John Kear over the last couple of years.
With one weekend left of his club campaign, he will be hoping to stand-out in Swinton's final outing against Toulouse on Saturday to give himself one last push for a spot in the final squad.
Name: Rhodri Lloyd
Current club: Swinton Lions
School: Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni
Eligibility: Born in Caerphilly
Date of birth: 22/07/93
Welsh heritage: #467; Wales caps: 12; Wales tries: 4; first Wales appearance: 06/10/10; last Wales appearance: 29/10/16
YOU CAN SEE RHODRI'S FULL WALES RECORD HERE
YOU CAN FOLLOW RHODRI ON TWITTER: @Rhodrilloyd93
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
Get behind the lads at the World Cup by purchasing the new replica kit! Visit the online shop HERE.
Article by Ryan Gould
Rhodri and girlfriend at a dinner