Rugby League

Wheelchair Super League

4 Apr 2023

Betfred Wheelchair Super League ready for action packed weekend in Birmingham

Betfred Wheelchair Super League ready for action packed weekend in Birmingham

The Betfred Wheelchair Super League will make more history this month (April 15) when the competition hosts its first Central Inclusion round in the UK’s second city - Birmingham.

Central Inclusion rounds were introduced as part of the plan to build on the impact of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup last autumn, and will expand later this year to include the Physical Disability and Learning Disability Super Leagues.

But for the first round, at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, it’s the amazing athletes and teams of the Betfred Wheelchair Super League who take centre stage – including almost all of England’s World Cup winners.

All six Super League teams will gather in the shadow of Old Joe, the tallest free-standing clock tower in the world, for the first full round of the season – with Leeds Rhinos already setting the pace after consecutive victories over Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.

The Rhinos, now coached by Wheelchair RL icon James Simpson and including his former England team-mates Nathan Collins, Josh Butler and World Cup captain Tom Halliwell, take on the London Roosters – meaning a clash with their World Cup coach Tom Coyd and his brother Joe, who is a key figure in the Roosters team alongside Lewis King.

That opening clash is followed by a meeting of two of the developing clubs of the Super League as Warrington Wolves take on Hull FC – who are inspired by their father and son duo, Mike and Billy Swainger. 

Defending champions Halifax Panthers will close the day with a clash against Wigan Warriors - a repeat of their exhilarating round one game where Wigan pulled off a shock 59-45 victory.

The Panthers, led by Rob Hawkins and including French international Jeremy Bourson and England star Seb Bechara, will be looking for immediate revenge against the Warriors - but it will be another tough contest with Declan Roberts and Adam Rigby starting the campaign in imperious form.

Martin Coyd OBE, the General Manager of England Wheelchair Rugby League, says:

“We are really looking forward to the first Central Inclusion round in Birmingham. We believe it is a city where Wheelchair Rugby League has great potential, so it is the perfect venue for our inaugural event.

“These weekends will give fans the chance to see our best players on one pitch in a single afternoon - it is an incredibly exciting concept. The events also give us the chance to take Wheelchair Rugby League ‘on the road’ and help fulfil the massive demand there has been since England’s World Cup win last Autumn. 

“We really hope that by experiencing the excitement of Wheelchair Rugby League in person, this will encourage more people to give to a go and play.”

It has already been an encouraging start to the 2023 season for Rugby League in the Midlands, with the Hurricanes kicking off their Betfred League One campaign by winning their first game at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium against Cornwall, in addition to reaching the Fourth Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

Birmingham Bulldogs, Coventry Bears and Telford Raiders continue to push the cause of Rugby League development at community level, and plans for a Midlands division in the new Women’s Rugby League pyramid were recently unveiled.

Central Inclusion rounds are a new addition to the Betfred Wheelchair Super League calendar and will bring teams together in the same city to celebrate the diversity of the game. The remaining events will be held in Newcastle, Manchester and London and will all feature on OuRLeague.

A full list of Betfred Wheelchair Super League fixtures can be found here.