Wales have called up second row forward Geraint Davies as replacement for Gareth Thomas in the Gillette Four Nations squad.
The fluent Welsh speaker, who has co-presented Rugby League shows on S4C in the past, made his international debut for Wales against England in 2008, the first of his seven caps, scoring his sole test try against Ireland in Pontypridd in 2009.
Currently without a club since finishing a one-year contract with Limoux Grizzlies in June this year after helping them to the French Grand Final, Davies started his professional Rugby League career with Celtic Crusaders, scoring seven tries in 47 appearances. He also played for South Wales Scorpions in 2010.
Wales coach Iestyn Harris said: “We’re really pleased that Geraint Davies is now officially in the 24-man Wales squad, he is full of enthusiasm for Wales Rugby League. He was our first reserve in case anyone did drop out and he played well in the friendly against Ireland last Saturday. He, like the rest of the squad, will all be in contention for selection against England in Leigh this Saturday, a game that we’re all looking forward to.”
Davies said: “I’m honoured more than anything. I was disappointed to have missed out in the first place but Iestyn made that call and he told me to go away and work on my game. The call came a lot sooner than I thought. I would like to congratulate Gareth Thomas in his career, he’s someone I’ve looked up to since I was young and he’ll go down as one of the greatest rugby players in Wales.
“I feel that I can bring passion to the team. I’m a very passionate Welshman. I thought I gave a good account of myself against Ireland at the weekend. I know it’ll be difficult to get in this team but whether I get in or not, I’ll be supporting the boys and supporting Wales.”