United States of America 10 lost to Wales 66
- Match URL
- Sunday, June 11th, 1995
- Ursinus College (Philadelphia)
|United States of America||Wales|
|Tries||Mike EVERGREEN||Iestyn HARRIS (3)|
|Jeff PRESTON||Scott QUINNELL (3)|
|Gareth DAVIES (2)|
|Mark JONES (2)|
|Goals||David NIU (1)||Iestyn HARRIS (9)|
|Front Row||8.||Mark JONES|
|Front Row||10.||David YOUNG|
|Second Row||11.||Rowland PHILLIPS|
|Second Row||12.||Scott QUINNELL|
The Australian tour had been replaced by a less glamorous one to the USA involving only Wales where two matches against the national side in Philadelphia were arranged. American Rugby League was still in its infancy. There had been attempts to launch the game there in the 1950s with a newly formed international side making an 18-game tour of Australia as well as playing a game against France. They were hoping to be included in that year‟s inaugural World Cup, but were refused entry. Once again international rugby league had missed an opportunity for expansion. Following entry into the World Sevens in Sydney in 1992, the USA launched a domestic league and relaunched their international side. They played matches against Canada, Russia and Ireland „A‟ over the next three years, but two full internationals against Wales were to be an entirely different prospect.
Iestyn Harris, who had played in the last three Welsh matches after making his debut against Australia, came into his own against lesser opposition. Playing in both matches on the tour, he scored a hat-trick of tries and nine goals in the first game before scoring a try and two goals in the second. Wales registered two easy wins, 66-10 and 92-4.
"We nicknamed it „Eddie Shoestring Tours‟ because the whole thing was on a shoestring, but we enjoyed each other‟s company so much it made up for it," Dai Young recalls.
Among the many players to make their international debuts in Philadelphia was Ian Watson. He was just 18 at the time and playing for Salford. In fact, when he went to the USA he hadn‟t even made his first team debut, thus being one of select few players to have turned out for his country before club at senior level. By the end of 2008, he had made 22 appearances for Wales, just four behind record holder Jim Sullivan, and with four games due for the national side at the end of 2009, Watson has the perfect chance to equal the great man‟s record. Watson went on to play for Workington on loan, but has mainly stayed around his native Greater Manchester area, turning out regularly for Swinton, Widnes, Rochdale, Oldham, Halifax and Leigh. However, Watson says that Wales were his one and only choice of international team to play for and loved his first two matches.
"My mum's Welsh and all my family's from Wales," he said. "We always went to Holywell to visit for holidays so I‟ve been brought up Welsh. "I was really lucky to make my international debut in the USA. There were a lot of established players there like Dai Young, Rowland Phillips, Gerald Cordle and Martin Hall so it was very easy for me to settle in and they helped me both on and off the field. The professionalism was good, they were great people and they had good attitudes to training.
Clive Griffiths brought pride in it and told us how lucky we were to wear the Welsh jersey so all of us youngsters were all very impressed. "I always consider it a massive honour to play for Wales. It‟s a big thing for my family and me. I‟ve had some great experiences playing for Wales in the World Cup against teams like Australia and New Zealand and playing in the Millennium Stadium. I'm proud to play for Wales. I‟m not even thinking about breaking the appearance record, it‟s just an honour to play every time I pull on that red jersey."
Last modified: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 23:09:18 +1100 (Sydney time)