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England Wheelchair

17 Jun 2022

Preview | England Wheelchair v France

Preview | England Wheelchair v France

The best two Wheelchair Rugby League sides in the world are all set to face off at Manchester Basketball Centre [M16 8GW] on Sunday as England host France, live on Sky Sports.

Doors open for the game at 2.15pm ahead of a 3.30pm kick off at the venue, which is based at Whalley Range High School.

Free parking is available on site, with tickets for the match priced at just £5 for adults and £2 for concessions and available at eticketing.com/rugbyleague.

Those wishing to buy tickets on the day can do so on the gate, where a card-only system will be in place to purchase.

France came to these shores at the back end of 2021 and came away with an impressive 2-0 series win which backed up their status as worthy World Cup holders.

But England will have revenge on the mind on Sunday as the two sides get set for another blockbuster clash as the countdown to the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup continues.

Josh Butler of Leeds Rhinos and Martin Norris of Wigan Warriors are notable inclusions in a 10-player England Wheelchair squad for the Mid-Season International against France in Manchester this month, which includes players from five different clubs.

Butler, a 20-year-old from Kippax whose hopes of following in the footsteps of his Rugby League hero Kevin Sinfield were initially frustrated by a rapid deterioration in his eyesight, has earned a first senior England call with his early-season form for the Rhinos after missing out on the home series against France last autumn.

He is joined in the squad by Rhinos team-mates Nathan Collins and Tom Halliwell, who is England's captain.

Norris was a member of the first Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby League team in 2006 and captained the side from 2008-14, has impressed following his recall to the squad after a seven-year absence for the games against France last autumn. He is joined by Wigan team-mates Adam Rigby and Dec Roberts.

Joe Coyd and Lewis King represent London Roosters, a club who were formed last winter to represent talent from south of England in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League.

Rob Hawkins was Young Player of the Year in 2019 and has continued his development with Halifax Panthers and England over the last two years and keeps his place in the team

Catalans Dragons, who will face Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final on June 25 – six days after the international – are the fifth club represented in the squad through Sebastian Bechara, whose mother is English and who has played all his international rugby for England.

Coach's Comments - Tom Coyd, England

"This was a tough selection, after our final training camp at UCLAN in Preston on Challenge Cup Final weekend, but that is the way we"d want it in World Cup year.

"To face France in a Mid-Season International is perfect preparation for the World Cup. It's exciting that we’ve picked a young squad – and we have more strength in depth than ever thanks to the increased intensity of our domestic competitions."

Player's Comments - Tom Halliwell - England

"It's always special to pull on the England jersey, I'm really looking forward to it. We've been working hard this year on the thngs we didnt do well in the two tests last year - France are going to to physical and flamboyant but we've probably got the best qaud weve ever had in terms of depth. We're really escited for the game."

Watch the interview in full.

Squads

England: Tom Halliwell (Leeds Rhinos, captain), Seb Bechara (Catalans Dragons), Josh Butler (Leeds Rhinos), Nathan Collins (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Coyd (London Roosters), Rob Hawkins (Halifax Panthers), Lewis King (London Roosters), Martin Norris (Wigan Warriors), Adam Rigby (Wigan Warriors), Declan Roberts (Wigan Warriors).

France: Abassi Mostefa (Saint-Jory), Alazard Lionel (Montauban), Duhalde Thomas (Euskadi), Guttadoro Florian (SO Avignon), Dore Damien (Dragons Handi), Mautz Guillaume (SO Avignon), Vargas Arno (Dragons Handi), Verdi Yann (SO Avignon), Zittel Adrien (Arbent).

Full Fixture Details:

England v France - Wheelchair Rugby League International

  • Date: Sunday, June 19
  • Kick off: 3.30pm [doors open at 2.15pm]
  • Venue: Manchester Basketball Centre, Whalley Range High School, Wilbraham Rd, Manchester, M16 8GW
  • Matchday sales available [card only]
  • Free parking on site
  • Contact enquiries@rfl.co.uk for more information