OWAIN BROWN will make his first steps towards international recognition when he meets up with Wales this evening.
The prop is one of four North Wales Crusaders players selected in Iestyn Harris’ 28-man training squad ahead of Wales’ meeting with France at The Racecourse on June 16.
Brown is accompanied in the squad by brother Iwan, wing Kriss Wilkes and already-capped Christiaan Roets.
For the Brown duo and Wilkes, tonight’s first meeting in Deeside represents a chance to impress Harris and stake a claim for match-action next month.
“It will be a big step but something I am really looking forward to,” confirmed Owain.
“I am looking forward to meeting up with the rest of the squad and seeing what it is all about.
“I am sure the intensity in training will go up again with full-time players with Super League experience. It is something we all strive to do - play at the highest level we can - and I am going to get stuck in and enjoy it more than anything.”
Brown and his team mates will meet up each week in the build-up to the encounter, and while he is hoping to make a fairytale international debut at 27 years of age, he knows the experience will at very least help improve him as a player and boost Crusaders’ Championship One campaign.
He declared: “It can only improve us because we are training with full-time players.
“We have nothing to lose from it, we just need to get our heads down and train hard, and hopefully one or two of us will get a game in front of our home crowd against France.
“I know realistically it will be a huge step for me and my performances have to improve to get anywhere near the Wales team.
“We have two Wales sessions and four Crusaders sessions so it is a big two weeks.”
Crusaders have a free weekend after their scheduled meeting with Gateshead Thunder was postponed from Sunday until July 8 due to planned work on the North East team’s pitch.
The break from action will allow Crusaders to study Sunday’s narrow 17-10 loss to Whitehaven and help tighten up areas of their game.
One aspect which let the Wrexham-based side down was decision making, with Brown insisting that better choices in the attacking third would have seen Crusaders clinch victory.
“It has come down to decisions, pushing passes and forcing plays at the wrong time,” he responded when asked what the difference between the two sides was.
“The main thing is that we are still positive in the changing room, when compared to the Workington defeat it is a massive turnaround.
“We have some respect now after beating Oldham and putting in a good performance against Whitehaven, but deep down we know we should have won.
“We were in the game and dominated spells, but we couldn’t get over the whitewash.”
Brown is not going to get too down about the defeat however, admitting that the club is heading in the right direction.
“We are progressing and coming on as a team, which is the main thing. All of the players were in the changing room after the game absolutely disappointed not to have won,” he said.
“Compare that to two weeks ago when we had no right to even think about anything other than losing.”