4 Feb 2024

Wales claim historic wheelchair series after hard fought win against USA

Wales worked very hard for a 52-22 win against a tough USA side who again took no prisoners.

It was a tough start again for Wales as the big hits went in from the start, but the Welsh did eventually take the lead when Jodie Boyd-Ward dived over in the corner. Andrew Higgins converted.

Boyd-Ward was outstanding again in scoring the second try. Fighting off two Americans, she successfully dived and grounded. Higgins’ conversion went on the post, then the bar and crept over and Wales were 12-0 up.

A brilliant passing move saw Gary Preece scoring Wales’ third try. Higgins’ goal attempt hit the post again but this time crept down the wrong side.


Gary Preece in action for Wales (Andrew Corbett, Relyks Media)

Twice Wales were close to a further try. Boyd-Ward had a potential third chalked off for a forward pass, whilst Higgins was stopped on a final tackle just as he was about to go in under the posts.

Eventually it was Martin Lane was scored out wide for Wales’ fourth of the game. Higgins added the goal, then scored a try of his own and converted again. With a minute to go in the half, Higgins was taken off to get his hand strapped up, Wales first interchange of the game. They played out the final few seconds to remain 28-0 at the break.

Higgins was first to score in the second half with his try and goal giving him 501 points for Wales, the first Welsh international in any WRL side to hit that target.

USA finally opened their account as soon as they regained the ball. Jesse Lind with the try that went unconverted. From kick-off, Mack Johnson raced away for their second with Micah Stewart landing the goal this time around.

But after the ball was spilled from kick-off, Wales struck back through another Higgins try and goal.

A good set saw USA strike back again, as Johnson stormed over for his second try. Stewart converted again.

Chayse Wolf got another back with 10 minutes to go, converting his own try to put the score back to 40-22 but Wales finally sealed the win two minutes later when Preece scored under the sticks and Higgins converted.


Andrew Higgins scored his 500th point for Wales (Andrew Corbett, Relyks Media)

Lane soon notched his second try of the game with Higgins converting to complete an outstanding 24 hours of Wheelchair Rugby League.

USA: Mack Johnson (Charlotte Lions), Chayse Wolf (Columbia Kangaroos), Micah Stewart (Raleigh Storm, capt), Andy Kingsley (Myrtle Beach Marlins), Jabrier Lee (Ft Bragg Raptors). Subs: Jesse Lind (Ft Jackson Blackhawks, capt), Gabi Cha (Houston Hellraisers), Bill Johnstone (Savannah Eels)

Tries: Lind (49), Johnson (50, 55), Wolf (70)

Goals: Stewart 2/3, Wolf 1/1

WALES: Andrew Higgins (Hereford Harriers), Martin Lane (Wigan Warriors/Torfaen Tigers), Gary Preece (Hereford Harriers, capt), Jodie Boyd-Ward (Leeds Rhinos, capt), Scott Trigg-Turner (London Roosters), Subs: Alex Powell (Torfaen Tigers), Stephen Halsey (North Wales Crusaders), Phillip Davies (Hereford Harriers)

Tries: Boyd-Ward (9, 15), Preece (17, 72), Lane (34, 75), Higgins (37, 46. 48)

Goals: Higgins 8/9

Half-time: 0-28

Referees: Peter Garlando (USA), Kim Abel (Wales)