It’s back to business as usual for Danny Ansell after a few unforgettable weeks Down Under representing Wales in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Danny, who works as National Training Centre manager for Wakefield-based MPL Locksmiths, was selected by Wales RL coach John Kear for a Wales squad that faced three tough group games against Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Ireland.
Danny, 26, explained: “Whilst results may not have gone the way we’d have liked, it was an incredible experience spending time in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea as well as Townsville and Perth in Australia.
“Papua New Guinea is a real rugby league mad nation. It’s easy to see why it’s their national sport and we were treated fantastically from our arrival even if that level of welcome was not extended to the pitch!” added Danny who got valuable game time in the match against Fiji.
Danny, a half back who spent his first 10 years after taking up the game aged 6 with Stanley Rangers before signing professional terms with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, has recently been signed by Swinton Lions following five seasons with Hunslet RLFC..
Danny picked up his second Wales cap against Fiji in Townsville after making his debut against Italy in a World Cup qualifier last October. He qualifies as a result of a Welsh grandmother.
“She’s always wanted me to play for Wales and it was a great honour to be selected for the Italy game. It was a tense wait for a few months to see if I’d made the World Cup finals squad and a great relief when I got the call from the chair of Wales Rugby League. The experiences I’ve had and places I’ve seen with Wales over the past few weeks will stay with me forever,” added Danny who is also a fully qualified locksmith who’s mindful of the importance of having a back up career.
“Whilst I’m not a fully professional player I’m very aware of the importance of ensuring you have skills that can offer you a career after playing rugby league.”
“There will always be a demand for locksmiths and I’ve been lucky in that my employers are immersed in the game and were very flexible when I told them about the call up.”
“The case of Anthony Walker, a colleague of mine in the Wales squad, should be a salutary lesson to all professional and semi professional rugby players. Anthony was forced to hang up his boots earlier this year aged just 25 due to an abnormality on his brain.”
“Luckily Anthony has gone on to get a coaching role with Rochdale Hornets but there’s a lot of peace of mind associated with having a trade backed up recognized qualifications,” added Danny who oversees MPL’s training centre where over 1000 individuals, organisations and locksmiths have received City and Guilds accredited training and retraining.”
Nicky England, director of MPL and an amateur rugby league player himself from a young age up until a few years ago, commented: “We have many links with Rugby League at MPL but it was a great pleasure to see Danny picked for the Wales squad. It’s the ultimate accolade to represent your country at a World Cup but it’s great to have him back with the team here at MPL.”
Danny added “I’m now looking forward to a new challenge next season with Swinton Lions but I’ll never forget my time with Wales at the Rugby League World Cup!”
You can bet Danny will be using his skills to continue unlocking opposition defences!