Ireland RL will take on Spain this Saturday in Valencia which coach Mark Aston is calling “a must-win fixture” as they launch their bid for a place at the 2017 World Cup.
“Spain will be disappointed after last week’s defeat and we expect them to want to compete in front of their own crowd – that means something,” Aston said.
“It’s a must-win game for us. We’ve had a couple of sessions and we’re in Spain for two days before the match so we’ll be okay. We have a nucleus of players who have been with the squad for a number of years.”
Warrington forward George King will be given a debut for Ireland, one of five Super League players set to feature after they were hammered 68-16 by Jamaica in Bray last Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some of the domestic lads,” Aston said. “They have had some games over the last few weeks, recording comfortable wins against Italy and Malta but then coming unstuck against Jamaica’s professional players, so it will be interesting to see how they react to that.
“We know what standards we set ourselves and it’s all about maintaining them in everything we do. We want to be respectful, present ourselves well and ultimately get the job done before heading home to take on Russia.”
Spain (from): C Lopez (Army RL), A Puerta (Custodians Madrid), J Laynez (Hull FC), I Ordaz (Irreductibles), C Laguerre (Los Gossos), A Doutres, C Bringuier, L Torres, N Munoz (Palau Xlll), K Aparicio (Paris XV), M Dulley (Paterna Dragons), M Charters-Blanco (Seaton Rangers), G Morro (Tonneins), A Davila, R Simo (Torrent Tigres), A Alonso, A Pilkington, L Thorp (Valencia Warriors), D Garcia (Warrington Woolston Rovers).
Ireland (from): G Gill (Ballynahinch Rabbitohs), C Hall (Belfast Met Scholars), J Keyes (Bradford), H Peacock (Carcassonne), J Kelly, M Russell (Dublin City Exiles), A McMahon (Galway Tribesmen), L Ambler (Halifax), O Roberts (Huddersfield), C Dunne (Longhorns RL), W Hope (Oldham), J Hasson (Parramatta), M Hadden (Rochdale), S McDonnell (St Helens), S Littler (Swinton), L Finn, S Grix (Wakefield), G King (Warrington), D Allen (Whitehaven).