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Home > News > Wordley leads England Counties XV
Your News Wordley leads England Counties XV

Staffordshire hooker Liam Wordley, who featured prominently in the England Counties XV tour to Russia in 2007, will be the Tour Captain during the Counties visit to the USA and Canada from June 2/16, 2008.

Despite being cast in the role of unofficial Entertainments Officer in Russia, there was no doubting then that behind the light-hearted faade there lurked a much more serious and very capable player.

Confirmation of that comes from the fact that Wordley, who will play for Blackheath next season, has been chosen to lead the tour, which involves three matches in New York and Chatham, Ontario.

The 28-year-old, who has previously played for Henley, Pertemps Bees and Manchester, was a member of the Counties XV squad for matches against an AIB Ireland Clubs XV in Dublin and France Amateurs at Blackheath last year before touring Russia, but missed out on a FIRA tournament in France in September 2007.

He smashed his elbow in an accident at work in September and not only missed the FIRA games in South West France, but was also invalided out of the game until February this year.

His contribution to the Russia trip was a significant element in welding together a disparate group of players, but as then, he insists that playing well and winning are his priorities.

Its very gratifying to get the support of Team Manager Danny Hodgson and the Counties people after what has been a really difficult year. It was very nice to get the invitation. He says: Obviously being tour captain guarantees me nothing so far as team selection is concerned. I know Im no shoe-in for selection and I wouldnt have it any other way. To get the call means that people realise that there is a serious side to me and while its good to have some fun and crack a few jokes together, theres nothing like winning. Thats where Im from.

An accident at work left his elbow shattered and his rugby career on hold for five months after extensive surgery.

I did that in September and didnt start playing again until February. I had a few niggles to contend with when I started back, which hopefully are behind me now. It means Ive got a ready-made excuse for a wobbly throw now and then!

I havent really given the captaincy job a lot of thought at this stage. Every tour Ive been on Ive just concentrated on trying to do my best. As long as we have the same ethos as we had in Russia, which was to go out there and win, Ill be happy. Tours are never as enjoyable if you lose, but as always with the Counties XV, it will be interesting to see how the players interact. We want to win all our games and working together as a group is the key to success.

Even with a number of players who have been together before, blending a team is still an interesting challenge for everyone involved.

The players started that challenge within an hour of stepping off the plane at JFK Airport in New York and continued their twice-daily training programme in 80degrees plus temperatures today.


June 6: USA A v England Counties XV in New York; June 9: USA A v England Counties XV in New York; June 13: Canada Select XV v England Counties XV in Chatham, Ontario.

The squad is:

Backs: Gavin Beasley(Northumberland/Tynedale), Oliver Brennand (Lancashire/Fylde), Benjamin Coulbeck (Cheshire/Manchester), James Doherty (Lancashire/Wharfedale), Jason Duffy (Lancashire/Waterloo), Thomas Jarvis (Gloucestershire/Stourbridge), Andrew Fenby (Blaydon/Northumberland)), Nathan Jones (Warwickshire/Coventry), Scott Rawlings (Staffordshire/Manchester), Richard Wainwright (Yorkshire/Manchester), Andre Wilson (Cheshire/Manchester), Oliver Winter (North Midlands/Moseley).

Forwards: Philip Boulton (Warwickshire/Bedford Blues), Daniel Collier (Middlesex/London Welsh), Stephen Pape (Somerset/Cornish All Blacks), Michael Denbee (Somerset/Plymouth Albion), Mark Evans (North Midlands/Moseley), Daniel Hyde (Yorkshire/Otley), James Kellard (Essex/Blackheath), Timothy Mathias (Devon/Plymouth), Sebastian Moss (Lancashire/Manchester), Matthew Owen (Cheshire/Manchester), Petrus du Plessis (Lancashire/Sedgley Park), Christopher Whitehead (Warwickshire/Coventry), Johnathan Williams (Northumberland/Tynedale), Liam Wordley (Staffordshire/Henley).

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