Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Chief On-Field Officer, has stressed the importance of Friday night’s fixture for the England Knights against the France Espoirs as part of the programme of Wheelchair Rugby League Internationals this autumn.
The return of the England Wheelchair Knights for the first time since the 2019 Home Nations Championship in Wrexham, which follows a big win for the Men’s Knights against Jamaica last month, will allow the four members of the EPU squad who were not involved in Wednesday’s first full international against France to gain valuable representative experience.
“Knights programmes are very important to the Performance Pathway for our Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair squads,” said Rotheram.
“These programmes prepare players for the rigour of International Rugby League in terms of residential camps, working with a wider group of support staff and access to International playing opportunities.
“They also provide valuable opposition for other nations, as we’ve seen with the two Men’s Knights games against Jamaica in the last three years, and before that their tour of Papua New Guinea which was so worthwhile on so many levels.
“As our Performance Programmes expand and other countries emerge with Women’s and Wheelchair teams, we see our England Knights teams playing an increasingly important and positive role.”
Declan Roberts of Wigan Warriors has been appointed as captain of the Knights squad for the match against France Espoirs, at Medway Park with a 630pm kick-off.
His Wigan team-mate Martin Norris returns to England colours after a seven-year absence, and Freya Levy of the Argonauts is set to make her representative Wheelchair RL debut from the interchange bench. Levy’s Argonauts team-mate Fred Nye is in the starting five with Nathan Mulhall of Halifax Panthers, and Wigan will have a third representative with Adam Rigby also on the bench.
England Knights team:
James Simpson (Leeds Rhinos)
Fred Nye (Argonauts)
Nathan Mulhall (Halifax Panthers)
Declan Roberts (Wigan Warriors - captain)
Martin Norris (Wigan Warriors)
Freya Levy (Argonauts)
Sebastien Bechara (Catalans Dragons)
Robert Hawkins (Halifax Panthers)
Adam Rigby (Wigan Warriors)