Rugby League


25 Apr 2024

Giants and Harriers join Dragons and Warriors in Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup

 Giants and Harriers join Dragons and Warriors in Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup

The Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup kicks off this Saturday (27 April), featuring qualifiers Edinburgh Giants and Hereford Harriers for the very first time alongside the likes of cup holders Catalans Dragons and reigning Wheelchair Super League champions Wigan Warriors.

Eight teams – the five Betfred Wheelchair Super League teams, plus current holders Catalans Dragons and the two Challenge Trophy qualifiers – will go straight into knockout action, aiming for a place in the final at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Saturday 1 June.

The Harriers have plenty of experience in their side, including Wales international Gary Preece who has been pinching himself since his team defeated Edinburgh in the Wheelchair Challenge Trophy final to secure a date with Wheelchair Super League royalty Leeds Rhinos.

"It’s a day that many of us won’t forget in a hurry”, said Hereford Harriers’ Gary Preece. “To go on to win the final, in the manner we did was great, two very evenly matched teams going at it after a long day of playing was just the right way for it to end. Credit to Edinburgh, they pushed us all the way and fought back really well to take the game into golden point extra time.”

Preece will be no stranger to his opponents on Saturday, as he comes face-to-face with his Wales international co-captain Jodie Boyd-Ward.

"We’re expecting a tough, well drilled, experienced team with internationals from touchline to touchline – Nathan Collins, Tom Halliwell and Jodie Boyd-Ward to name a few, and coached by former England captain James Simpson. They will be no push over and we are not expecting them to be.” 

Whilst the West Midlands side will go into the game as underdogs, it’s a position that the 41-year-old thinks can work in their favour.

“We do have a slight advantage” insisted Gary, “because Leeds will go into the fixture as the overriding favourites. No one will expect us to win so we have nothing to lose going into the game and we can play with freedom and with no pressure on our shoulders.”

Whatever happens on Saturday, Preece and his team know that the inclusion of two teams outside of the Super League is a positive step forward for the competition. 

“I think that for the sport of Wheelchair Rugby League to continue the path of growth we have seen post World Cup, it’s important for less experienced and new clubs to see that competitions such as the Super League and Challenge Cup are not out of reach.

“The new format of the Challenge Trophy giving the championship clubs the opportunity to play one of the elite teams in the Challenge Cup is great. It gives the Challenge Trophy a purpose and means there is something more to play for.”

Saturday will see reigning Betfred Wheelchair Super League champions Wigan Warriors face Halifax Panthers at Robin Park Arena and Leeds Rhinos take on Hereford Harriers. Edinburgh Giants will then travel to York University to face London Roosters on Saturday 4 May, and Hull FC host Catalans Dragons at the Allam Sports Centre on Saturday 11 May.

Semi-finals are scheduled for Saturday 18 May, with the final once again taking place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Saturday 1 June – and shown live on BBC Sport.

All of the fixtures/fixture information for this year’s Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup can be found here.


Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup quarter-final ties (ties to be played Saturday 27 April/Saturday 4 May/Saturday 11 May):

  • Leeds Rhinos v Hereford Harriers
  • Wigan Warriors v Halifax Panthers
  • Hull FC v Catalans Dragons
  • London Roosters v Edinburgh Giants


Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup semi-final ties (ties to be played on Saturday 18 May):

  • Leeds Rhinos or Wheelchair Challenge Trophy Winner v Wigan Warriors or Halifax Panthers
  • London Roosters or Wheelchair Challenge Trophy Runner Up v Hull FC or Catalans Dragons