RL World Cup: Wales coach Kear urgues tournament organisers to give his team a break

Furious Wales coach John Kear. PIC: Matthew Merrick/RLPhotos
Furious Wales coach John Kear. PIC: Matthew Merrick/RLPhotos
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Wales coach John Kear has hit out at the World Cup organisers after they refused his request for water breaks during his side’s opening game against Papua New Guinea.

The Welsh were blown away by the Kumuls in the tropical heat of Port Moresby and Kear’s disappointment turned to anger when he witnessed both Ireland and Scotland taking water breaks after 20 and 60 minutes of their fixtures with Italy and Tonga in Cairns, northern Queensland.

“That’s the one thing we’re really irritated about,” Kear said. “As as coach, I have the players’ welfare in mind. We requested water breaks and we were declined them.

“But we looked at other games taking place on the same day with temperatures not as high as ours and the humidity not as tortuous, and there were water breaks.

“We feel aggrieved that we were turned down.”

Wales, who were crushed 50-4 by Papua New Guinea, have moved on to another tropical area in Townsville, where they will play Fiji on Sunday needing to pull off a shock victory to keep alive their qualification hopes, and Kear has made a plea to the organisers to reconsider his original request.

“We’ve asked for the protocol to be examined and for a little more common sense to be shown,” said the Wakefield Trinity director of rugby. When it’s a European team that is playing in temperatures and in conditions that are totally foreign to them in PNG and in Cairns and in Townsville, I think there should be areas of grey rather than black and white and I hope common sense will prevail.”

Wales will be without second rower Chester Butler after he was concussed in last Saturday’s opening game, while forward Sam Hopkins and scrum-half Matty Seamark are both ruled out with shoulder injuries.

“It’s taken its toll,” said Kear. “It was a bruising affair as well as a taxing one because of the climatic conditions. There will be some other changes because some of the performances weren’t good enough. We’ve reviewed them, highlighted them and we’ve attempted to correct them by changing systems or changing personnel so we’re hoping we’ll be much better against Fiji.”