16th October 2019, 09:14 | englandrl

Platt inspires England Wheelchair team to victory in first tour game

Platt inspires England Wheelchair team to victory in first tour game

Nathan Collins was the star of an emphatic opening win for England Wheelchair against North Queensland in Townsville on their five-match tour of Australia – after the team had been inspired by a pre-match address from Great Britain legend Andy Platt.

Collins, an 18-year-old who starred for Leeds Rhinos in their first Wheelchair Challenge Cup triumph earlier this year, scored two of England’s 11 tries and landed six conversions for a personal haul of 20 points as the tourists warmed up impressively for stiffer tests to follow – including two Tests against Australia next week.

His Rhinos team-mate Ryan Richardson scored three tries, with two for Lewis King of the Kent-based Argonauts, and single scores from Joe Coyd, James Hazell and captain Jack Brown.

But England were happy to share the limelight with Gary Best, a youngster with Downs Syndrome who scored all three tries for the North Queensland team – to the delight of the local crowd, and ensuring substantial national media coverage for the first match of the tour.

England were delighted to involve Platt in their build-up to the match. The former St Helens and Wigan forward, who has settled in North Queensland after ending his playing career with Auckland Warriors, came to watch a training session, then presented the jerseys to the players on the eve of the match – and also attended the game.

England have now travelled south to Brisbane where they face Queensland in the second match of their tour on Friday.