Wheelchair World Cup trophy

By Ian Golden at Cardiff University Sports Park

The Wales Women’s Rugby League side are one step closer to joining the sport’s wheelchair outfit into the 2026 World Cup finals, after beating Ireland 28-10 in their first qualifying match on Saturday afternoon.

The Women’s, Men’s and Wheelchair World Cups will all be held in the Southern Hemisphere at venues to be announced in late 2026. Wales Wheelchair have already qualified for their tournament, with the men’s side taking part in qualifiers later this year.

Now, Wales Women need to do is beat the Netherlands away on June 22 and they’re there. The Dutch hammered Italy 56-6 today in their play-off match to qualify for the group stages and they’ll travel to Ireland next month in this three-game three-team group.

Lucia Davies, one of three players winning their first Welsh cap, nearly had the perfect start, but was stopped short when diving for the line.

Wales took the lead on 11 minutes when Bethan Dainton crashed over the line. Kathryn Salter converted.

The Wales skipper nearly scored her second from the next attack but was stopped short. Shaunni Davies’ grubber from the next tackle was blocked.

Ireland opened their account on 19 minutes. Mairead Quinn was held up over the line but from the next play, Grace Tutty scored in the corner. Storm Cobain couldn’t land the kick.

Wales extended their lead in their next attack. A great passing move ended with Georgia Taylor scoring in the corner. Salter converted again.

Then with eight minutes to go in the half, it was 18-4. Brittony Price fed to Salter who rolled over when Ireland attempted to hold her up over the line. She converted her own try.

With Wales 14-points up at the break, they looked for the opening try of the half and on 53 minutes they did it. A fantastic clean break from Dainton, no-one could stop her and she scored under the sticks making it easy for Salter.

Ireland pushed for a try back and with four minutes to go, they got one. Mairead Quinn went in under the sticks and Storm Cobain converted.

But Wales cemented their win with the last play of the game when Rhi Parker sprinted over in the corner