For only the third time ever, Wales have beaten Australia in a full international rugby league match.
The Wales Physical Disability Rugby League side were victorious 34-20 in the PDRL World Cup, nine years after the Wheelchair side beat their Australian counterparts twice in the 2013 Wheelchair World Cup.
Wales will now face Australia twice more this weekend, tomorrow (Saturday) in a Wheelchair international in Cyncoed, Cardiff, then again on Sunday in the Physical Disability World Cup third-place play-off.
Wales made a promising start with Leif Thorbroe and Chris Young showing up well and making fine early runs that led to Dan Shaw scoring a great try under the posts which was converted by Paul Jones.
The Welsh continued to drive forward and following a powerful Chris Spriggs run, Leif Thorobroe ran in under the sticks to score a super try. Paul Jones kicked the conversion.
In a fast-paced first period, it was the Welsh dominating play but Australia fought back into the game with a fine steal from Adam Hills driving the Aussies forward. However, a fine try by Morgan Jones put the Welsh up to 16 points at mid-point in the first half.
Then on 20 minutes, following some end-to-end play, Adam Hills finished off a clean Australian break scoring a try close in.
In the final minutes, it was the Australia who pushed forward again with Bryce Crane going over for a try with captain Stephen Hendry converting to leave the game at 16-10 and very much in the balance after an exciting first period of play.
The second period saw a fast start from the Welsh with Justin Martin and Chris Spriggs leading the line and soon Gareth Sullivan scored with a fine break that Morgan Jones converted well from wide out.
Australia came back yet again through another Bryce Crane try, well converted by Stephen Hendry to make the score 22-16. However, the Welsh were determined and an outstanding break by Chris Young saw him score again, and soon after Leif Thorobroe sealed a fine performance with another slick try in the far corner. In a match played at breathtaking pace, Australia then put together a great set of passes to see Bryce Crane burst over in the corner.
But soon after, Wales were again driving forward and when Chris Young dived on a great chip kick, the score was 34-20 and a hard-fought victory was complete.
However this win does not mean that Wales have qualified for the World Cup Final.
On Sunday, the Wales PDRL side faced New Zealand in the first-ever international match involving the new PDRL Classification system. During the game, there was an unintended technical breach when Wales exceeded on-pitch classifications. Because of this, the match points have been awarded to New Zealand, so we will now be taking part in the third-placed play-off on Sunday against Australia again.
We are disappointed not to be taking part in the final but it has taken a remarkable effort from players and staff to enable us to compete at this first PDRL World Cup. We are at the start of a journey and we’ll take the learnings both positive and negative from the tournament once it has finished but in the meantime, we look forward to facing Australia again on Sunday.