Wales captain Kear emulates classmates Warburton and Bale

Elliott Kear (right) in action for Wales at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup

European Rugby League Championship: France v Wales
Venue: Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne Date: Saturday, 27 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Watch live on the BBC Sport website, updates on BBC Radio Wales

Elliott Kear can proudly say that he went to school with a future Wales and British and Irish Lions captain as well as a footballer who would become the world’s most expensive.

Sam Warburton and Gareth Bale were Kear’s high school contemporaries before going on to achieve international success in their respective fields of rugby union and football.

For Kear is a former pupil of the acclaimed Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, which can also claim Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas among its alumni.

Warburton captained Wales’s rugby union side on 49 occasions while Real Madrid forward Bale skippered the football team for the first time against Denmark in September.

And Kear is now himself an international captain – set to lead Wales’ rugby league side for the first time against France in the European Championship on Saturday.

“You wouldn’t have thought back then that you would be knocking the ball around with a Lions captain and a four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid,” the London Broncos winger told BBC Wales Sport.

“But you knew they were going to be destined for big things – they were unique in their own sports.

“Sam was playing men’s rugby when we were 16 and he was always destined to go on to captain Wales

“I congratulate him on a great career that he’s had, the same with Bale as well.

Gareth Bale and Sam Warburton

“It’s great that we’ve had three captains come out of the same school and the same year. It’s incredible. It’s great for Wales and for Whitchurch.

“As soon as I got the captaincy one of my old PE teachers, Mr Morris, rang me. He was absolutely delighted.”

Mr Morris is Gwyn Morris, who famously made Bale play one-touch football against the other boys such was his ability at an early age.

“There’s not only him – there’s a lot of teachers there that are passionate about sport,” Kear said of his former teachers at the school in the north of Cardiff.

“It’s a great school full of passionate teachers and everyone wanted to learn and everyone enjoyed playing sport.

“It’s a great platform at Whitchurch for people to learn and progress in a sport there.

“I’d like my kids to go to school there and play sport as well – it’s a great school.”

Million pound game

Kear himself excelled at a number of sports but it was in rugby league that he would forge a professional career, beginning at Welsh-based Crusaders.

He joined Bradford Bulls in 2011 and spent a season in rugby union with London Welsh during their brief and ultimately unsuccessful stay in the Premiership.

Since 2015 Kear has been at London Broncos, a club who will be playing in Super League next season after a four-year absence.

Broncos secured their place by beating favourites Toronto Wolfpack 4-2 in the Million Pound Game.

“It was my biggest club career game by far,” Kear told BBC Wales Sport. “It was a pretty tense game and probably not great to watch but we did the job.

London Broncos players celebrate winning the Million Pound Game

“What worked in our favour was that a lot of the pressure was not on us that day. We had it all against us.

“We had to go to Toronto, where we hadn’t won all year. All the pressure was on them so I think that helped.

“The Super League needs London Broncos in it so there are exciting times ahead.”

Captain of Wales

Victory in Canada capped off a memorable few weeks for Kear, who had been appointed by Wales head coach and namesake John Kear as the national team’s captain for the European Championship.

“It’s probably the biggest honour that I can have as a Welshman, to captain your country,” said Kear, who succeeds Craig Kopczak following his retirement from international duty.

“As soon as John asked me I didn’t think twice.

“I always like this time of year coming into the Wales camp. We’ve got a great bunch of boys and they’re exciting times.

“I’d love to lead these men out and get three wins out of three. “

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BBC Sport – Rugby League

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