11th October 2019, 10:02 | englandrl
The England Wheelchair Rugby League squad fly to Australia today for an historic Ashes tour – the first of three England teams to head Down Under in the space of 36 hours.
The Wheelchair team will play two Tests against Australia on October 21 and 23 – with additional fixtures against North Queensland, Queensland and New South Wales.
They will be followed to Australia on Saturday by the England men’s and women’s squads selected to compete in the new Downer World Cup Nines in Sydney next weekend – with the Wheelchair squad due to support them at the Bankwest Stadium on the second day of the competition.
Kevin Sinfield, the Rugby Director of the Rugby Football League who leads the England Performance Unit, said: “All three squads are really excited. The Women and Wheelchair teams have been on a really good journey this year in particular, and I’m absolutely delighted our Wheelchair team get out there and play an Ashes series. They’re a world-class team and they absolutely deserve it. We look forward to supporting them the best we can.”
England Wheelchair inflicted a first ever home defeat on the reigning world champions France in Apt earlier this year, and also retained the Home Nations competition in Wales last month.
England Women have a busy autumn, as they will follow their trip to Australia for the Nines with a two-Test tour of Papua New Guinea.
“For the women to go out and compete in the Nines is really important, and then on the back of that they have the PNG tour,” added Sinfield.
“It’s a pretty special year for England Rugby League – and looking to 2021, those three programmes are especially important to us, as we host Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair World Cups.”
Another two of the six teams in the England Performance Unit, England Knights and England Academy, will also be in action this month.
The Knights, after a successful tour of Papua New Guinea last year, face the surprise World Cup qualifiers Jamaica at Emerald Headingley on Sunday week, October 20; and the Academy take on Wales in Llanelli the previous day.