Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup: Wales beat USA 50-32 to keep semi-final hopes alive

Wales (30) 50
Attempts: Preece 2, S Williams 3, Halsey, Jones, Higgins, Trigg-Turner Goals: Halsey 5, Higgins 2
USA (22) 32
Attempts: Johnson, Townsend 4, Wooloff Goals: Johnstone 3, Stewart

Wales kept their Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup hopes alive with a win over debutant USA.

Skipper Stuart Williams led the way for Wales with three of his nine tries, while Jeff Townsend impressed for the USA with four of his six tries.

Scotland remain winless after losing 80-15 to champions France, with Nicolas Clausells scoring four tries and seven goals.

But a win over Wales in their final group game could see Scotland escape.

France booked their place in the semi-finals with a win over the Scots and now face the USA to confirm top spot in Group B.

Assuming France had beaten the USA, if Scotland had bested Wales, there would have been three teams in a win and the runner-up would have been decided on points difference.

But if Wales are victorious against the Scots on Thursday, they will be in the semi-finals.

France beat Wales 154-6 on Friday, while Scotland lost 62-41 to the USA.

Wales initially struggled with the USA’s tactics to get the ball over the top, then their speedsters gathered and scored, Townsend and Mackenzie Johnson’s tries making it 10-0 after 10 minutes.

But Wales regrouped and slowly took their rugby league lead, putting players into space and creating gaps in the US defence.

Aided by a superb first-half hat-trick from captain Williams and a fierce first-half attack, the Dragons clawed their way back to half-time with a 30-22 lead.

Stephen Halsey and Harry Jones extended Wales’ lead in the second half and although Townsend struck for the USA, Wales were always in control and Scott Trigg-Turner’s converted try took Wales to 50 points.

After last finishing in bronze medal position in 2017, Wales’ hopes of a repeat remain alive.

Wales captain Stuart Williams:

“That means a lot, our guys … showed heart, showed determination. We believed in our guts and determination and also our experience and it showed.”

“We had great arrangements. Andy Higgins, Gary Preece, Steve Halsey was like a ram, a truck and the guys on the bench were great, we could hear them – it was like we had a sixth player.

“It was a great effort and I couldn’t be more proud of the effort they put into it.

“The USA were fantastic and they have incredible pace, and some really decent rugby has arrived.”