Rugby League


19 Mar 2024

London universities set for Wheelchair Rugby League’s first varsity match

London universities set for Wheelchair Rugby League’s first varsity match

Wheelchair Rugby League will have its very own varsity match on Wednesday (20 March), when Brunel University take on Twickenham-based St Mary’s at Brunel’s Kingston Lane campus in Uxbridge (KO 1.30pm).

Once the preserve of the Oxbridge universities, varsity fixtures have grown in popularity with neighbouring universities competing for local bragging rights in an increasing number of sports.

Now, thanks to Brunel and St Mary’s, with support from England Wheelchair RL, Wheelchair Rugby League is set to become part of the varsity tradition. And, in keeping with Wheelchair Rugby League’s reputation as one of sport’s most inclusive games, athletes from around the world – from Algeria to Australia – will be involved as global goes local.

Martin Coyd, England Wheelchair Rugby League General Manager, says: “This is a very exciting and significant event in the evolution of Wheelchair Rugby League. It promises to be a great occasion.

“Following an idea and speculative request, five members of England Wheelchair’s National Performance Squad delivered taster and training sessions at St Mary’s University and experienced an amazing take up. The skill levels were unexpectedly high and it worked quickly.

"A game was staged with the newly-formed Elmbridge Eagles wheelchair team, which was a huge success. Crucially, students from Brunel University were there watching and the Wheelchair Varsity Match was created.

"Training sessions at Brunel followed and both teams are learning fast as varsity day approaches. I am sure we will look back at this day as a major milestone in the development of Wheelchair Rugby League.  

“The dream is to establish Wheelchair Rugby League Teams at universities and colleges across the UK. It is a very achievable goal as many of the campuses already have great facilities, the right size halls for an indoor pitch, wheelchairs on site and plenty of young, athletic people – disabled and non-disabled, male and female – who will love the game.”

Wednesday’s Wheelchair Varsity Match is part of the annual West London Varsity between Brunel and St Mary’s, which features multiple sports across Brunel’s Kingston Lane campus. Tickets for all the events are available at the Brunel students’ union website.