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England 38 – 8 Australia

Player of the match and Golden Boot winner Jack Brown inspired England to a big win over longtime rivals Australia in their first game of this year’s wheelchair rugby competition; Spain opened the tournament with a win over Ireland in the other Group A match

Last updated: 03/11/22 11:03 PM

Player-of-the-match Jack Brown goes for a shot in England's win over Australia

Player-of-the-match Jack Brown goes for a shot in England’s win over Australia

England lived up to their favorites list by winning the Rugby League World Cup wheelchair tournament with an impressive 38-8 win over Australia on the opening day of the competition.

Man-of-the-match Jack Brown starred the show at Copper Box Arena with two tries during an all-action display, while Joe Coyd and Nathan Collins also helped themselves double up.

Collins racked up a total of 16 points, while Lewis King, the other try-scorer for Tom Coyd’s side, turned out to be a record-breaking day with an audience of 3,033 in both games at the Olympic Park site. .

Seb Bechara made clear England’s intent with a huge first-minute goal over Australian Zac Schumacher and despite the hosts wasting two early openings, it was the visitors who started the score in London.

Diab Karim took full advantage of Rob Hawkins’ failure to claim a high pass by crossing over into the corner and giving the Wheelaroos a 10-minute lead.

However, it only turned out to get head coach Coyd’s squad even more into action and it was the England boss’ younger brother who turned the momentum around with two tries in three minutes.

Joe Coyd brilliantly swung between Australian duo Karim and Brad Grove to open the home side’s bill in the tournament after 19 minutes and repeated the trick shortly afterwards.

England wheelchair rugby league coach Tom Coyd says he would like to grow the game in the UK and dreams of reaching the World Cup final with the national team

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England wheelchair rugby league coach Tom Coyd says he would like to grow the game in the UK and dreams of reaching the World Cup final with the national team

England wheelchair rugby league coach Tom Coyd says he would like to grow the game in the UK and dreams of reaching the World Cup final with the national team

England were now going through the gears and the introduction of Brown as an exchange player only served to increase their threat. He crossed twice between fellow substitute Collins who came on the scene to ensure a healthy 20-point lead at halftime was built.

It would have been more if Brown hadn’t been denied a treble by a last-ditch Aussie defense, knocking both posts next to the first winner of the Golden Boot wheelchair award.

Not wanting to let their advantage slip away from a youthful and exuberant Copper Box crowd, the hosts quickly added their 26-6 advantage after the break. Lewis King landed after 46 minutes before Brown, one of two non-disabled players allowed on the team, took center stage.

He got closer to adding another high to his show reel when he brilliantly made his way past Peter Arbuckle and Bayley McKenna, only to be held up for the try-line by Diab.

Joe Coyd scores England's first try in the win over Australia

Joe Coyd scores England’s first try in the win over Australia

Moments later, however, Brown showed another side of his ability with a massive blow to Australian chief destroyer McKenna, who eventually saw the Wheelaroos player leave the field.

England were denied a seventh attempt midway through the second half when Hawkins was tackled just before scoring after Bechara’s driving run.

But Collins completed his double after good work from Joe Coyd before adding another conversion by Collins to bring his tally for the night to 16.

Aussie McKenna successfully kicked a penalty in the last seconds to give the visitors the final say, but it was England night after they showed why many are tipping the 2008 winners to claim a second World Cup over the coming two weeks.

Seb Bechara unloads the ball during a tackle by Australian Peter Arbuckle

Seb Bechara unloads the ball during a tackle by Australian Peter Arbuckle

In the opening game of the tournament between the other two sides in Group A, a 25-point lead from Theo Gonzalez helped Spain kick off their campaign with a 55-32 . win Ireland.

Gonzalez scored two tries and landed eight conversions from eight tries, along with a late drop goal. David Berty also took a hat-trick of tries for Spain, with Yannick Martin also scoring two.

Irish skipper Peter Johnston crossed four times for his team and Phil Roberts’ score had given them an early lead, but in the end Spain proved too strong.

Brown: England lived up to the hype

Player of the Match Brown believes England have set a milestone with the impressive way they beat Australia in their opening game of the World Cup.

Jack Brown celebrates with England teammate Seb Bechara

Jack Brown celebrates with England teammate Seb Bechara

“It was an important win,” said Brown. “It sets the tone and shows what England stands for.

“The crowd was incredible and we’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s a dream come true.

“It’s something when I was a 15-year-old boy doing this sport for the first time, I never imagined anything like it, it was just a little push, but this is something very special.

“We said we wanted to come and put on a good show for everyone. We really wanted to live up to the hype. I think we did that and the Aussies did that well.”

England head coach Tom Coyd enjoyed the opening night of the wheelchair world cup

England head coach Tom Coyd enjoyed the opening night of the wheelchair world cup

England head coach Coyd praised the impact of the record-breaking crowd on a day when the wheelchair tournament kicked off to take part in the country’s rugby league takeover after the men’s and women’s World Cup kicked off last month.

It is the first time that all three will take place at the same time in what is the fourth edition of the World Wheelchair Championships.

“As a spectator, I found the atmosphere incredible,” said Coyd. The Copper Box is such a good place to exercise. We know that from the Olympics and the crowd really showed up. The boys thought so too.”



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