Four newcomers included in Reggae Warriors' 24-man Rugby League World Cup squad

By Sports Desk September 28, 2022
Jamaica's Ben Jones-Bishop streaks away from  Scotland in the 2021 Autumn Test match. Jamaica's Ben Jones-Bishop streaks away from Scotland in the 2021 Autumn Test match. Matthew Merrick

Four newcomers - Bradley Ho, Kieran Rush, AJ Wallace, and Alex Young - are included in Jamaica’s 24-man squad, as the Reggae Warriors prepare to make their debut in the Rugby League World Cup.

Fourteen of those selected were part of the squad that qualified for the tournament when winning the 2018 Americas Championship, Jamaica thereby becoming the first-ever Caribbean nation to be included in the competition proper.

The squad is headlined by Betfred Super League stars Michael Lawrence and Ashton Golding from Huddersfield Giants.

Six players from the domestic game are included, five are from Duhaney Park Red Sharks that recently won the National Club Championship Grand Final for the eighth time in 16 seasons, along with former Excelsior Community College speedster Abevia McDonald, who now plays at London Skolars.

Also selected are brothers Aaron and Ben Jones-Bishop, the former becoming Cornwall RLFC’s first international representative.

“We are excited to mix it with the best players in the world and everyone is ready to give their all. We encourage everyone to get behind this team and join us on what should be a terrific as well as historic journey,” said head coach Romeo Monteith.

“We first made our international debut in 2009, and to have qualified for a World Cup less than 10 years later, speaks to our commitment and tenacity.

“We are in a very tough group, but our aim is to give a good account of ourselves. The World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and we hope this will be the first of many appearances.”

The Reggae Warriors are drawn in Group C and will face Ireland at Headingley, Leeds (October 16), 2008 World Cup winner New Zealand at the MKM Stadium, Hull (October 22) and Lebanon at Leigh Sports Village (October 30).

Two teams from each group will not only advance to the quarter-finals but will also book their ticket to the 2025 Rugby League World Cup to be staged in France.

The local contingent will depart the island on Saturday 1 October, and, in a warm-up match, the Jamaicans will face Cumbria on October 7 in Workington.

JAMAICA 24-MAN SQUAD

Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), AJ Wallace (Bradford Bulls), Aaron Jones-Bishop (Cornwall RLFC), Ross Peltier, Keenen Tomlinson (Dewsbury Rams), Chevaughn Bailey, Khamisi Mckain, Andrew Simpson, Marvin Thompson, Renaldo Wade (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax Panthers) Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence, Kieran Rush (Huddersfield Giants), Bradley Ho, Mo Agoro, (Keighley Cougars),  Abevia McDonald (London Skolars) Joel Farrell, Ben Jones-Bishop (Sheffield Eagles), Joe Brown, Alex Young (Workington Town), Jacob Ogden (York City Knights), Jordan Andrade, Jy-Mel Coleman (Unattached).

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