York's Ross Divorty can't wait for Rugby League World Cup to come under starter's orders (From York Press)
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York's Ross Divorty can't wait for Rugby League World Cup to come under starter's orders
YORK’S representative at the Rugby League World Cup can’t wait for the crash bang wallop to begin and to mix it with the game’s elite.
Former York City Knights second-row Ross Divorty, now with Championship big guns Halifax, is part of the Wales squad that help to kick off the tournament at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
And, although he is one of the few part-time professionals in the squad, his aim is to don the Dragons’ jersey in each of their three group games and help Iestyn Harris’ men to reach the knockout rounds.
“I’m very hopeful of being in the squad for Saturday,” said the 24-year-old, who was an ever-present in their previous tournament, the 2011 Four Nations, and kept his place in the 23-man World Cup party despite missing last autumn’s internationals through injury.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It was the same with the Four Nations – even more so. To say you’ve played in a World Cup would be brilliant.
“Iestyn Harris has set the goal of winning the group and getting to the quarter-finals. That’s what we’re striving for. I personally want to play in all our games – the group games, the quarter-final... maybe more.”
Wales meet Italy in the second part of Saturday’s double-header, following England’s clash with favourites Australia. The Dragons’ 19-man match-day squad will be announced today, with the 17 to take the field being named tomorrow.
The Welsh later meet the USA and Cook Islands but the focus is now on potential surprise package Italy, who, with a team littered with Aussie ex-pats, shocked England in last weekend’s warm-up match – a timely reminder for Divorty that no game will be easy.
“We’ve not looked into great detail about USA and Cook Islands yet – we’re looking one game as a time.
“Italy’s win came at a good time for us. We were confident coming into the group but that game was a wake-up call that teams like Italy can turn in results like that.
“We know we need to be mentally right – more so than if England had won easily.”
Divorty is on a teacher training course at York St John University but is taking time off from those studies to be part of the full-time set-up for the tournament.
A former New Earswick ARLC junior, he is the son of former Great Britain star Gary Divorty and qualifies for Wales via his grandmother. He made his international debut in 2009 and has 11 caps.
“The university have been great,” he added, speaking from Wales’ training base at Celtic Manor, the former Ryder Cup golf venue. “The course involves lots of work but they’ve said to go off and play and take a month’s extension at the end.
“It’s been really good (in camp). It’s good to get a taste of the full-time environment, and we’ve been well looked after.
“Preparation is serious but it’s been quite relaxed. The squad is 75 per cent the same as for the Four Nations and everyone gets along. That’s a big part of Iestyn’s ethics – to have good team spirit.
“Many of us have been around the squad for four or five years and we’ll be one of the closest groups at the World Cup.”
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