Stats, they present so much. Dominance, longevity, success. So sit back, as we look over Welsh rugby league.
The likes of Rhys Williams, Iestyn Harris and Jim Sullivan have donned the red of Wales, all enjoying personal success.
How do they fare against their other compatriots? Which coaches enjoyed success?
As a note, we have ensured these stats are as accurate as possible (if there are issues, please point them out), including points and data for all international matches that were available.
Wales Leading Try Scorer
Rhys Williams – 22
Christiaan Roets – 13
Iestyn Harris – 12
Elliot Kear – 12
Ian Watson – 11
Arthur Daniels – 9
Lee Briers – 9
Adam Hughes – 9
Damian Gibson – 8
Mark Lennon – 8
Wales Leading Point Scorer
Iestyn Harris – 12 tries & 58 goals (164 pts)
Jim Sullivan – 3 tries & 58 goals (123 pts)*
Lee Briers – 9 tries, 27 goals & 6 field goals (100 pts)
Jonathan Davies – 3 tries, 39 goals & 5 field goals (97 pts)*
Rhys Williams – 22 tries (88 pts)
David Watkins – 2 tries, 31 goals & 4 field goals (74 pts)*
Please note, players with asterisks next to their points total are indicative of when tries were three points and field goals were two points.
Welsh leading-try scorer Rhys WilliamsPlayers to have scored three tries for Wales
Will Davies scored four tries on October 7, 1911 v Australia.
Keiron Cunningham scored four tries on June 18, 1995 v USA.
William Williams scored three tries on April 9, 1910 v England.
Frank Evans scored three tries on December 4, 1926 v NZ.
Phil Ford scored three tries on October 27, 1991 v PNG.
Iestyn Harris scored three tries on June 11, 1995 v USA.
Simon Quinnell scored three tries on June 11, 1995 v USA.
Adrian Hadley scored three tries on June 18, 1995 v USA.
Anthony Sullivan scored three tries at the 1995 World Cup v France.
Iestyn Harris scored three tries on June 5, 1996 v France.
Kris Tassell scored three at the 2000 World Cup v Cook Islands.
Adam Hughes scored three tries on October 26, 2003 v Russia.
Lenny Woodard scored three tries on October 26, 2003 v Russia.
Damian Gibson scored three tries on November 9, 2007 v Lebanon.
Christiaan Roets scored three tries on October 24, 2009 v Serbia.
Elliot Kear scored three tries on October 10, 2010 v Scotland.
Rhys Williams scored three tries on October 10, 2010 v Scotland.
Rhys Williams scored three tries on November 3, 2018 v Scotland.
Head coaching records (from 1975)
Clive Griffiths – 15/25 (60%)
Martin Hall – 4/7 (57.1%)
John Kear – 8/16 (50%) (1 draw)
Iestyn Harris – 7/18 (38.9%)
Les Pearce – 3/9 (33.3%)
David Watkins – 1/3 (33.3%)
Neil Kelly – 1/4 (25%)
Ron Simpson – 0/1 (0%)
Bill Francis – 0/1 (0%)
John Mantle – 0/1 (0%)
John Dixon – 0/1 (0%)
Stuart Wilkinson – 0/2 (0%)
Thomas Coslett – 0/5 (0%)
Like many players, Ben Murdoch-Masila has been rejuvenated with a Super League stint and the New Zealand Warriors are the beneficiaries.
Murdoch-Masila will join the Warriors side from 2021 on a three-year deal.
The former NRL player made the move to the Super League and has since taken his game to a new level.
Showing brute strength at all levels, including for Tonga, Murdoch-Masila will add some size and venom to the Warriors pack.
“Ben is right up among the best forwards in the game right now and he had plenty of clubs trying to sign him,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“It’s a huge signing for us, one we couldn’t be happier with.
“Ben always had enormous potential and has now matured into a total professional. He’ll be a real asset to have back in the NRL.”
A product of the Wests Tigers associated with Keebra Park High School, the man nicknamed BMM had a solid stint in the NRL previously.
His previous 52 NRL games came with both the Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers.
The move back to the NRL excites Murdoch-Masila.
“I’ve always left the door open for the opportunity of an NRL comeback,” he said on Warrington’s website.
“My daughter has spent her life here and all she knows is the Wire (Warrington Wolves).
“When this opportunity came around I couldn’t say no to taking her home to meet mine and Roxy’s families.”
Although his time at Warrington will end at season’s end, Murdoch-Masila praised them for everything.
“I want to thank all at the club for what they have done for not only me but for my wife and daughter too,” continued Murdoch-Masila.
“They’ve gone above and beyond for us and after a tough first two seasons for me, and a not so good start, I will do whatever it takes to help repay what the Wire has done for me and do my best for the remainder of the year.
Wayne Bennett is out and Shaun Wane is in. That is the change at the top for the England national team.
Wane will take over the reins from the departing Bennett on a two-year contract.
The former Wigan head coach returns to rugby league from a stint in Scottish rugby.
Wane is honoured to have the chance in the role with some big tournaments coming up.
“I am honoured to be appointed Head Coach of my country’s national team at such an exciting and important time for Rugby League in England,” Wane said.
“We have a three-Test Ashes series against Australia this autumn, and after that we host the World Cup in 2021.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always loved the game of Rugby League, and been proud of British Rugby League.”
With players on offer in both England and Australia, Wane looks forward to success involving players from both areas.
“I’m looking forward so much to starting work with the outstanding Rugby League players we have in this country,” Wane continued.
Also the guys who have enjoyed success in Australia in recent years, to do all we can to win the World Cup next year.”
The appointment of Wane is one that excites those associated with the English governing body, the Rugby Football League.
“We think this is an exciting appointment that will be welcomed by England Rugby League supporters as we prepare for this year’s Ashes series, and the 2021 Rugby League World Cup,” said RFL CEO, Ralph Rimmer.
“Shaun is passionate about the game and his country, and also an outstanding coach, as shown by his record in eight seasons as Wigan’s head coach, a major feature of which was the success he and the club had in developing so many homegrown players.
“With two years to go in the lead up to RLWC2021, a full review was always programmed in to follow from the 2019 Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
In part two of our 2020 Super League preview we examine Salford, St. Helens, Toronto, Wakefield, Warrington and Wigan.
Salford Red Devils
2019 finish: 3rd
Ground: AJ Bell Stadium
Coach: Ian Watson
Captain(s): Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan
After one of the most surprising seasons in recent history Ian Watson’s men defied the odds to finish 3rd and make their way to their first ever Super League Grand Final.
However, as a new season dawns, the Red Devils see plenty of big departures with the inspirational Jackson Hastings, Josh Jones, George Griffin, Darell Olpherts and Robert Lui all making an exit.
This year may just be a transitional year for Watson’s men, meaning both Joey Lussick and Niall Evalds will be pivotal as the season goes on.
They have been able to fill some voids though, adding Kevin Brown, James Greenwood, Dan Sarginson and Sebastine Ikahihifo in the hope of following on from a sensational 2019.
Player to watch
Even though it did not work out for him at Leeds, Tuimoala Lolohea has seemingly found a new lease of life with Salford.
If his performances for Tonga towards the end of the year are anything to go by, then it will be interesting to see where this side goes from here with the halfback in tow.
2019 season finish: 1st (Champions)
Ground: Totally Wicked Stadium
Coach: Kristian Woolf
Captain: James Roby
Unlike other teams around them, the 2019 Super League Champions have decided against adding any extra talent to the side that dominated most of last year.
Well, they do say why mess with a winning formula and again the Saints still look an unfathomable unit with James Roby leading the way once again.
It is possible to think though that the Red Vee will not always have it their own way this year especially with how other teams have added over the off season.
Though when you have Lachlan Coote, Regan Grace, Kevin Naiqama, Tommy Makinson and Jonny Lomax in the backline and a front row consisting of Luke Thompson and Alex Walmsley, then you will still be brave to bet against them.
Player to watch
In a team that has its fair share of impact players, Jonny Lomax has been one of the most consistent performers over the last couple of years.
His versatility and ability to unlock an opponent’s defence saw him claim 16 tries and 21 try assists last year. Man of Steel 2020 anyone?
2019 season finish: N/A (recently promoted from Championship)
Ground: Lampert Stadium
Coach: Brian McDermott
Captain: Josh McCrone
The first ever transatlantic rugby league team make their highly anticipated debut in Super League this year.
In the process, they bring with them one of the biggest acquisitions in the sport’s history, if not the biggest in Sonny Bill Williams.
The 34-year-old will make his return to rugby league for the first time since 2014 and will provide a huge boost in the back row.
Alongside SBW, Toronto have the coaching of McDermott and Super League experience of Joe Mellor, Gareth O’Brian, Matty Russell and Jon Wilkin.
Together, that should seemingly be enough to steer them to safety with a play-off spot maybe too much too soon for the North American side.
Player to watch
Even though all eyes will be on SBW, the key man for McDermott’s side may just be the talented Andy Ackers at dummy half.
The 26-year-old has spent time with Swinton and London before joining Toronto in 2018 and has developed a reputation as one of the best hookers in the country outside of Super League.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
2019 season finish: 9th
Ground: Belle Vue (Mobile Rocket Stadium)
Coach: Chris Chester
Captain: Jacob Miller
The West Yorkshire side should be quietly confident they can challenge some of the leading contenders ahead of them this season.
They face a fight in the middle table with the likes of Leeds, Castleford and Catalan looks to be much likelier.
The Wildcats have brought in Joe Westerman, Chris Green and Jay Pitts to bolster the forwards.
They still have influential players in Bill Tupou, Reece Lyne and Danny Brough to create opportunities going forward.
Also, the additions of the young and exceptionally talented Alex Walker and veteran Ryan Atkins certainly bolster the backline.
Player to watch
There is no question that Tom Johnstone is the one to watch for Wakefield this year.
Over the last two years he has had his career curtailed after a pair of serious injuries saw him miss a substantial amount of time.
However, if he stays healthy, he remains one of the most exciting talents out there with his electric speed and finishing ability.
2019 season finish: 4th
Ground: Halliwell Jones Stadium
Coach: Steve Price
Captain(s): Chris Hill and Jack Hughes
In the duo of Blake Austin and Gareth Widdop. the Wire have two of the most lethal halves in the league to get them in to the top two this year.
The departure of Ryan Atkins and Bryson Goodwin have left a gap in the centres.
The trio of Toby King, Jake Mamo and Keenan Brand alongside new signing Anthony Gelling show there are plenty of options for Steve Price there.
Even out wide, they have two exceptional try scorers in Josh Charnley and Tom Lineham.
There are huge presences in the forward pack with Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Joe Philbin, Ben Currie, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sitaleki Akauola.
Not to mention catalyst Daryl Clark flying around at dummy half.
All the ingredients are there, it is up to the Wolves now as to whether they can finally put the pieces together and finally achieve the big one.
Player to watch
We already know what the likes of Austin, Widdop and Charnley so for Warrington, I decided to look at more youthful prospect and that is Matty Ashton.
The 21-year-old arrived from Swinton Lions recently and comes into Super League as the second tier’s top try scorer and Young Player of the Year in 2019.
2019 season finish: 2nd
Ground: DW Stadium
Coach: Adrian Lam
Captain: Sean O’Loughlin
Alongside Hull FC, Wigan have probably made some of the best signings over the course of the post season.
2019 Man of Steel winner Jackson Hastings has joining the fray to go with the inclusions of George Burgess, Mitch Clark and Jake Bibby.
The Warriors have a team filled with a great blend of youth and experience and that was certainly evident last year.
Youngsters Morgan Smithies and Oliver Partington gained valuable first team minutes and showed why they are potential stars in the making.
If you combine all this with the leadership of Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Thomas Leuluai and the skill and talent of Zak Hardaker, Oliver Gildart, Bevan French and Joe Burgess, then Wigan have it all to go better than 2nd this year.
Player to watch
Although you can point to either Smithies or Partington or the fact that Gildart is set to miss the start of the season due to injury, the stage is set for Bevan French.
He has a chance to announce himself in his first full year with the Warriors.
The 24-year-old certainly has all the skills and creativity to be one Adrian Lam’s best attacking weapons this coming season.
After more opportunity, Leilani Latu is expected to get that at the Warrington Wolves after being granted a release by the Gold Coast Titans.
Joining the club from the Penrith Panthers, Latu struggled for regular game time at the Titans, prompting the move to Wolves.
With Latu wanting a fresh start, the Titans were not about to stand in his way.
“Leilani and his family have been passionate members of the Gold Coast community, and as a Club, we are supportive of him taking this new opportunity for his career and family,” Titans Head of Performance and Culture Mal Meninga said.
“The Titans thank Leilani for his time at the Club, and wish his nothing but the best for the future.”
Latu’s arrival at Warrington will see him rejoin some familiar faces.
The prop played with both Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sitaleki Akauola at Penrith.
“I’m looking forward to getting into training with the boys and creating some combinations with them,” Latu said.
“It’s an exciting brand of footy here and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
I chose Warrington because of the quality of players and I have played with a couple of them back in the NRL too; Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sitaleki Akauola at Penrith and we had some success there.”
Warrington coach Steve Price says Latu fits the bill in terms of what the club was looking for in the forwards.
“We are always looking for quality rugby players to bring to our club and we feel Leilani fits that,” said Price.
“I’m looking forward to working with him and developing his game during his time at Warrington as we feel there is a lot more he can bring to the game.”