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NICHOLAS RALLIES TROOPS.

Byline: By RHYS EVANS

WALES number two Peter Nicholas last night vowed to restore his nation's pride and scythe giant Finland opposition down at Llanelli's Stebonheath on Tuesday evening.

The Dragons have failed to breathe fire in Group A of the International Challenge Trophy competition and are currently rock bottom of a section won by England. The Three Lions progressed through to next year's tournament finals after holding Italy 2-2 in Benevento on Wednesday - a sharp contrast to the Welsh, who failed against both rivals.

Caretaker-manager Terry Boyle has named six players from the Blue Square Conference in his 18-man squad - including Wrexham quartet Chris Maxwell, Neil Taylor and brothers Mike and Marc Williams. Also in the frame are Forest Green Rovers' Alex Lawless and Grays' Adam Gross - with the Wales hand being primarily constructed from the Welsh Premiership.

Nicholas, who won 73 senior caps, is aware of the scorn poured by many on a league his Llanelli club dominated last term. And he is certain the Finns will be a stiff obstacle in midweek saying: "Finland have just qualified for the UEFA European U-21 Championships in Sweden next June - soccer is on a high over there.

"We lost 4-2 in Italy and 2-1 to England. We are in danger of finishing this competition with our tails firmly between our legs. We can't allow that to happen - we'll need to rattle them early.

"I'm expecting the Finns to be hard physically. They are generally a big side and we will need to be mindful of their threat from set pieces."

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PETER NICHOLAS
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 16, 2008
Words:264
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