There were successful outcomes for the Leeds Rhinos Wheelchair squad on two fronts this weekend, with the side picking up a hard-fought victory over London Roosters whilst Wales international Jodie-Ann Boyd-Ward helped her country to Celtic Cup success with a hat-trick of tries in their victory over Scotland.
Boyd-Ward scored three tries and was a pivotal part of the Welsh victory, as they achieved their highest ever margin of victory and highest points total ever with a 116-6 thumping of the Scots at Plas Madoc Leisure Centre in Wrexham.
It was Boyd-Ward’s third score of the game just moments before the final whistle which secured the record win and wrapped up an incredible performance by the Dragons to earn the honour of their sixth successive Wheelchair Celtic Cup.
Meanwhile back in Leeds, there was plenty on the line for the rest of the Rhinos squad as they took on newcomers London Roosters in a crucial clash in the Wheelchair Super League, with both teams looking to secure their place in the Top 4 of the table and advance to the play-offs.
With the visitors riding high following a comfortable victory over North Wales last time out, they quickly set about putting the Rhinos to the sword, and raced into a surprise 18-0 lead inside the opening quarter. Back came the Rhinos though, with two tries from Tom Halliwell and one from Coach James Simpson- all converted by the imperial Nathan Collins- levelling the scores at the half hour stage.
Back and forth went the scoring, and despite another London try, further scores from Collins and Halliwell to complete a first half hat-trick had the Rhinos ahead 30-22 at the break. It was London who scored first in the second half to cut the arrears to just 2, but a quick-fire double from Ewan Clibbens looked to have almost sealed the win for Leeds.
That was quickly cast in doubt though, with the Roosters grabbing tries in consecutive sets and once again reducing the Rhinos lead to just one score with well over 15 minutes still to play. It was then time for Collins to fully show his class, breaking through the defence to score a wonderful try before collecting a kick and racing away to notch yet another hat-trick and- with another conversion added- take his solo points tally up to 30 for the day.
Another Rhinos try from the returning Josh Butler followed, but London dug deep and gained two consolation scores late on to give the scoreline a more respectable and fair look at 58-46. Having been made to work very hard for their victory, James Simpson’s side will be extremely pleased to have made it three wins from three on home soil and given themselves a massive confidence booster heading into next weekend’s Wheelchair Challenge Cup Festival in Hull.
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