NORTH Wales Crusaders and their fans have helped ensure rugby league hero Rob Massam can play in the World Cup.
Earlier this month the Leader reported an SOS appeal had been launched to keep Rob, who plays for the Wrexham-based Crusaders, in the Wales squad.
Financial pressures meant Rob was facing the possibility of having to withdraw from the honour of playing for his country in the sport’s most coveted competition.
Part-time player Rob works as a self-employed personal trainer and his income will disappear during the time he is in the World Cup camp.
In addition he will still have to pay costs incurred with his work.
In a bid to help Rob, the Crusaders launched a campaign asking members of the public to come to the winger’s aid and it has been a success.
The costs have now been covered, thanks to the generosity of the North Wales Crusaders and their fans.
Rob said: “The club and fans have helped me out a lot.
“My clients have been very supportive and understanding and I can’t thank everyone enough.
“I’m training alongside some world class players and I’m trying to learn as much as I can.
“Opportunities to play in World Cups don’t come along very often so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy the experience.”
Rob said it would be a dream come true to run out for Wales at The Racecourse Ground at the World Cup.
He was named in Wales’ 24-man squad for the competition following an outstanding season for North Wales Crusaders.
The powerhouse player bagged 23 tries in 22 appearances as the Crusaders completed the Championship One and Northern Rail double.
The Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium is hosting two games as part of the World Cup fixtures.
Wales take on the USA in their opening group game on November 3 at 2pm.
A quarter final featuring the winners of Group A and Group D will be played on November 16, with a 1pm kick off.
Rob, 26, is looking to live every boy’s dream by playing for his country at the very highest level.
His skills have already caught the eye of Wales coach Iestyn Harris, who handed Rob his international debut against France in 2012.
And Rob is now hoping to make an impact on the global stage at the World Cup.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve been training hard this year and I’m looking forward to the whole experience,” he said.
“I had a phone call from Iestyn expecting him to let me down gently but I was really excited when he told me I had made the squad.
“Playing for your country is the pinnacle of every athlete’s career so I’m thrilled to be part of the squad. I’m learning so much from both the coaches and players.
“Running out in a Welsh jersey at The Racecourse would mean everything to me.
I’ve grown up here in Wrexham, I play my rugby here, all my friends are here and I live just around the corner in Gwersyllt.
“It’s every boy’s dream to play for their country and to do it in my home town would be extra special.
“My family have been really supportive. They were hoping that I’d make the squad and they’re really proud of me.
“I want to make them proud now by getting more caps and playing for my country in my home town.”
In just two short years Rob has gone from playing amateur rugby to representing Wales on the international stage.