Match Report
Wheelchair Senior International Match

Wales triumph in historic wheelchair clash with USA

Published by Ian Golden
03 Feb 2024

Wales beat USA 78-24 on Friday evening in the first-ever game of Wheelchair Rugby League to be played in the Americas.

USA scored from their first attack. Chayse Wolf dived under the sticks but Will Johnstone couldn’t land the conversion.

Wales scored their opener as Scott Trigg-Turner went in under the posts with Andrew Higgins’ goal giving Wales the lead. That advantage was soon extended to 18-4 following a brace of tries for Gary Preece, both of which were converted.

Higgins set up the next try for Trigg-Turner for his 50th try for Wales, only the second player to achieve this for any Wales international side (Stuart Williams of Wales Wheelchair being the first). Higgins again converted.

A sublime pass from Preece gave Trigg-Turner his hat-trick just after the 20-minute mark, but it was the home side who were next to score. After kicking from a set, Jesse Lind picked up a bounce missed by the Welsh, setting up Wolf for his second. Micah Stewart’s goal attempt hit the bar.

Andrew Higgins then twisted his way through to ground and easily converted but USA were last to score before the break. Mack Johnson chased a kick and scored under the sticks. Stewart converted to make the score 36-14.

Wales quickly increased their lead with two Jodie Boyd-Ward tries, Higgins converting the second.

USA again struck back when Andy Kingsley scored under the posts and Johnstone converted, but Wales scored again as soon as they got the ball back, Higgins over for his second try and kicking his eighth goal.

Just after Trigg-Turner chased and caught the ball for Wales’ 10th try of the evening and his fourth of the game.

Higgins converted, then added a penalty as Trigg-Turner was fouled in the action of scoring by Mack Johnson, who received a yellow card (five minutes off in the Wheelchair game) for his professional foul.

Higgins strolled in for his third try of the evening, also giving him his 50th Wales try, converting himself but USA weren’t finished.

Johnson got his second, diving in the corner, but Wales finished the stronger. Preece dived in for his hat-trick with Trigg-Turner converting, then Harry Jones, winning his Wheelchair RL world record-extending 44th cap, scored in the corner and converted himself.

USA: Mack Johnson (Charlotte Lions), Chayse Wolf (Columbia Kangaroos), Micah Stewart (Raleigh Storm), Bill Johnstone (Savannah Eels), Andy Kingsley (Myrtle Beach Marlins). Subs (all used): Freddie Smith (Wilmington Wolves), Jesse Lind (Ft Jackson Blackhawks), Jabrier Lee (Ft Bragg Raptors) 
Tries: Wolf (3, 27), Johnson (38, 71), Kingsley (53); Goals: Johnstone 1/2, Stewart 1/3
Sin-bin: Johnson (62)

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 (all used): Alex Powell (Torfaen Tigers), Harry Jones (North Wales Crusaders), Phillip Davies (Hereford Harriers)

Tries: Trigg-Turner (7, 16, 21, 62), Preece (9, 13, 73), Higgins (31, 55, 65), Boyd-Ward (45, 48), Jones (78); Goals: Higgins 11/12, Trigg-Turner 1/1, Jones 1/1

Photo: Andrew Corbett, Relyks Media