9 Nov 2022
Williams: Wales are aiming for the stars
Wales can likely secure a wheelchair Rugby League World Cup semi-final spot with a win against Scotland
By Josh Graham
Captain Stuart Williams’ dream of taking Wales to the latter stages of the wheelchair Rugby League World Cup is still alive.
The Dragons were thumped 154-6 by back-to-back champions France but bounced back in style to beat the USA and are on the verge of securing a semi-final spot with victory against Scotland on Thursday.
Group B is wide open after the Hawks beat the Bravehearts before losing to Williams’ men in Round 2 but a win for Wales should see them progress barring a huge upset in the USA’s game against France.
Williams said: “The semi-final and the final has always been on my mind. If you’re thinking that way I think you’re doing it wrong.
“We should be aiming for the stars.
“I don’t mind being the underdog and we’ll go up against anyone.
“If it was England I think that underdog status will suit us, but we have to get past Scotland first.”
“This tournament will make a massive difference. There were quick points in the match against USA where I thought I need to take this all in.”
Meanwhile, Scotland coach Mark Roughsedge knows his team must win to stand any chance of progressing.
The Bravehearts lost 80-15 to the all-conquering France in their last outing but Roughsedge believes his players will carry plenty of enjoyment into their game against Wales as they bid to grow the sport across Scotland.
“This team is on a journey and I think we’ve seen that already throughout this tournament.
“Against France we saw a lot of players with smiles on faces really enjoying the moment and I think that is a good thing for us to take into the Wales game.
“This tournament has already been a great experience, it’s a different game in front of these crowds.
“I really think the wheelchair game could cut through to new audiences in Scotland. It’s point a minute and it can draw a different audience.
“I’d like the sport to move into other countries for sure and this tournament will only help this.
“We’ve only heard positive things from those watching the other games, you can see the impact the England Australia game had on social media the other night. I had lots of messages from people asking about the game – it shows the interest is there.”
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets