Words by: Ian Golden in Myrtle Beach, sponsored by Sporting Records Online Ltd.
Pic: Andrew Corbett, Relyks Media.
Wales Wheelchair head coach Alan Caron has made just one change for the second international match against USA today at John T Rhodes Sports Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (kick-off 3pm local, 8pm GMT).
Caron has named the same starting five who played a fantastic game yesterday in Wales’ 78-24 win over the USA in what was the first-ever Wheelchair Rugby League match in the Americas.
Stephen Halsey, who missed out yesterday, comes into the three-person substitutes bench, while Harry Jones drops to “Ninth Player” meaning unless there’s a failed head injury assessment, his Welsh record of 44 consecutive caps will now come to an end.
Jodie Boyd-Ward will draw level with Jones on 44 caps, regaining her joint Wheelchair Rugby League world record cap status that she lost last year after being unavailable for the Celtic Cup. Currently on 14 caps for Wales, she started her international career with Ireland, where she won seven caps, before playing for England 22 times.
Caron said: “The starting five played so well yesterday, we all felt it was the right decision to start them again.
“It’s great to have Steve Halsey back today. He can come on as a great impact player when Jodie needs a rest and recovery, so we wanted to include him. Phil Davies also keeps the impact going when Andrew Higgins needs a rest, whilst Alex Powell can cover wing or centre if need be.
“The rules of international Wheelchair Rugby League have changed a lot over the last six months so players are now going to miss out. It used to be that we had five subs and no blood or head injury replacements, but now we’re aligning more with the running game and it’s been reduced to three subs and a ninth player, similar to the 18th in running rugby league. Harry will fit that role perfectly for us today and will be ready if we need him.”
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)