United States of America 4 lost to Wales 92
- Match URL
- Sunday, June 18th, 1995
- Ursinus College (Philadelphia)
Rowland Phillips, who had ironically made his rugby union international debut against USA, played in both matches in Philadelphia: "It was a good run out for us before the World Cup. The whole squad played in both games and there were unlimited substitutions," he said. "But the standard of opposition that we were facing wasn‟t that good. They were physical, not particularly organised, they took more of an American Football type of approach and thought it would just be running hard. They didn‟t understand the physicality of the defence because they got a little irate with us. "The crowd was virtually nonexistent, as the games weren‟t promoted that well. They were played at a college field which had a running track around it. It wasn‟t like we were a visiting international side, it was like an obscure sport was visiting their shores, there wasn‟t much fuss. There were no formalities after the game, no official presentations, we just met up in a bar after the games, had a few beers and as many chicken wings as we could eat."
Phillips remembers some of the funniest moments from a tour that he says was marvellous for team morale: "We trained the day before the first game and the rain hammered down," he said. "Clive Griffiths turned round to place some more cones out and when he came back to the field, the entire squad had run under cover to shelter. I‟ve never seen Clive so angry in all my life. There was also the time when we all went out to a Chinese restaurant and they gave out the fortune cookies at the end. We were all asking each other what the little messages said but Paul Moriarty hadn‟t realised that there was a message inside and had eaten the whole thing!"
The America trip was meant to be Phil Ford‟s international swansong. The full-back was coming to the end of an illustrious career that saw him play for Wigan, Bradford, Salford, Warrington and Leeds as well as winning 13 Great Britain caps. He became a hero to all British rugby league fans in 1988 when scoring a length of the field try for the Lions as they beat Australia for the first time in 10 years. Ford was part of the 25-man travelling squad to the States but didn‟t get to play in either of the games due to a ligament injury. However he was given a more important role to play.
"I was the touch-judge," he said. "Only the referee was provided so each side had to provide a touch-judge and as I was injured, I was the man. Both games were easy wins for Wales so I didn‟t have too much to do, but during the second game a big fight broke out and us „officials‟ had to take charge. So I rushed onto the pitch and knocked a few of the boys on the head with my flag saying „You can‟t do that‟. That was what this tour was like - a good laugh all round."
Last modified: Mon, 02 Feb 2015 22:00:45 +1100 (Sydney time)