England Wheelchair completed a 2-0 Ashes series victory Down Under thanks to another dominant display against Australia’s Wheelaroos, with two members of the Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair side on the scoresheet.
The 58-20 win at the University of Wollongong was anything but academic as the Wheelaroos looked to square the series following Monday’s 28-84 thrashing in Sydney. The hosts turned in a much-improved defensive effort, this time denying England’s wheelchair wizard Jack Brown the space he took full advantage of in Sydney.
But Brown still escaped the shackles to score a try in each half, and England’s superior skill, organisation, fitness and scrambling defence ultimately proved too much for their valiant opponents.
Leeds Rhinos’ Tom Halliwell opened the scoring for England with a fine try and Brown added a second after Henman had replied for the Wheelaroos, before Halliwell, Rhinos’ teammate Nathan Collins and Argonauts Joe Coyd scored further tries to give their side a comfortable 34-8 half time advantage.
Massive success on the tour so far. Defeating Australia to win the inaugural test series. The Aussie side came out firing and massively tested us at times! We held our nerve and stuck to our game plan!What an incredible few weeks! @RLWC2021 @TheRFL @daciauk https://t.co/FLv0jKALMf
— James Simpson (@simmoWhRL) October 23, 2019
England scored seven second half tries in Sydney, including five in the final quarter, but were restricted to four this time in Wollongong by a more determined Wheelaroos defence. There were scores for Ryan Richardson, Seb Buchara, Jack Brown and player of the match Wayne Boardman, as well as four goals for Rhinos star Collins, but Australia finished strongly with Grove completing a superb hat-trick in the dying minutes.
Wayne Boardman, who notched a try and four conversions in the win, said: “It’s been a hard few days but we’ve come away with the victories we wanted so it’s positive.
“The team pulled together; we were put under a bit of pressure there. They came back stronger (after the first test), put a lot in their defence so it took us a little bit longer to get over that. We had to weather a storm for 20/25 minutes.
“They always keep the ball alive for second phases of attack, so we always had to be ready for that. We’re building and building towards the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.”
Australia: Brad Grove, Cory Cannane, Brett Henman, Craig Cannane, Yarra Ryan, Shaun Harre, Jason Arrard, Davin Bretherton, Zac Schumacher and James Hill.
England: James Simpson, Lewis King, Jack Brown, Tom Halliwell, Wayne Boardman, Nathan Collins,Joe Coyd, Sebastien Bechara, Ryan Richardson and James Hazel.