The 2021 Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final – the first to be sponsored by Betfred, and shown live by the BBC – will feature another instalment of the unlikely Rugby League rivalry between Leeds Rhinos and the Argonauts Skeleton Army of Kent.
The Rhinos and the Argonauts emerged from Saturday’s qualifying competition at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield involving all six teams from the Wheelchair Super League – although the Argonauts needed a major helping hand from North Wales Crusaders to earn their Final place ahead of Halifax Panthers.
The Panthers, who are the reigning Super League champions, played out a tough 6-6 draw against the Argonauts, which left them needing to score 35 points in their last match against the Crusaders to climb above the Argonauts in the table and join Leeds in the Final.
But the Crusaders, who had lost their previous four matches despite competing strongly against both Leyland Warriors and Hull FC, restricted Halifax to a 26-14 win – meaning the Argonauts will have another crack at the Rhinos on Saturday July 3.
Leeds, who won their first Challenge Cup when it was last held in 2019, won all five of their fixtures – starting with convincing wins against the Crusaders (34-0) and Hull FC (30-6) before holding off Halifax (20-12) and the Argonauts (16-6), and confirming their Final place with a 24-0 win against Leyland.
The 2021 Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup Final is part of a breakthrough week for Wheelchair Rugby League as it follows a Mid-Season International for England against Wales on Saturday June 26 – also to be shown live on BBC Sport, as the countdown continues to the World Cup in England later this year.
With both Leeds and the Argonauts having four players in the England squad, it means team-mates on June 26 will become Cup Final rivals seven days later.
Betfred Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup, Qualifying Round
North Wales Crusaders vs Leeds Rhinos; 0 – 34
Leyland Warriors vs Hull FC; 16 – 16
Halifax Panthers vs Hull FC; 24 – 12
North Wales Crusaders vs The Argonauts; 6 – 26
North Wales Crusaders vs Leyland Warriors; 18 – 29
The Argonauts vs Hull FC; 24 – 12
Leeds Rhinos vs Hull FC; 30 – 6
Halifax Panthers vs Leyland Warriors; 8 – 6
Halifax Panthers vs Leeds Rhinos; 12 – 20
The Argonauts vs Leeds Rhinos; 6 – 16
The Argonauts vs Leyland Warriors; 22 – 6
Leeds Rhinos vs Leyland Warriors; 24 – 0
North Wales Crusaders vs Hull FC; 10 – 12
The Argonauts vs Halifax Panthers; 6 – 6
North Wales Crusaders vs Halifax Panthers; 14 – 26