Rugby League World Cup: Craig Kopczak sets ambitious goals for Wales

Last Updated: 23/10/13 3:58pm

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Craig Kopczak (in red): Hopes Wales can go a long way in this year's World Cup

Craig Kopczak (in red): Hopes Wales can go a long way in this year's World Cup

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Captain Craig Kopczak sees no reason why Wales cannot cause a few upsets in the World Cup and reach the semi-finals once more.

The nation reached the semis twice in their history - in the 1995 and 2000 tournaments in England.

They gave an excellent account of themselves in '95 at Old Trafford before losing 25-10 to England and five years later they gave Australia a run for their money before eventually going down 46-22.

Although expectations are not high to reach the latter stages of the competition this time around, the Huddersfield Giants' ace is of the firm belief that his team-mates have what it takes to go a long way.

"Realistically we'd like to get as far as the semis. I know it's a big ask but I think we can cause some upsets."
Craig Kopczak

"Obviously we'd like to win the competition," Kopczak commented. "Realistically we'd like to get as far as the semis. I know it's a big ask but I think we can cause some upsets.

"We've got so much talent in our team, we are obviously going to do something in this competition."

Saturday's opener

Wales kick off their campaign against Italy in the second half of Saturday's double-header at the Millennium Stadium before meeting the United States and the Cook Islands.

Their biggest test is expected to come on against the Azzurri, who are on a high following their stunning 15-14 win over England in Salford last Saturday.

"I haven't seen the game but I have to say I was shocked," he added. "Obviously we are going to have to raise our game.

"Every game is going to be a challenge. It doesn't matter who we play, we've got to be on our game and it starts with Italy."

Kopczak has experience of the Millennium Stadium from Super League's Magic Weekends in Cardiff and is excited at the prospect of taking part in the opening double-header.

"I played there a few times with Bradford," he said. "It's a great stadium but, for me personally, to lead out Wales in the home nation is going to be a real proud moment for myself.

"I played under the roof and it really is a great atmosphere. Hopefully we can get the fans behind us."

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