It’s a big weekend for Wheelchair Rugby League, with finals taking place on Saturday and Sunday in Warrington and Sheffield.
On Saturday (14 August) Warrington Wolves take on Gravesend Dynamite in the Wheelchair RL Trophy, followed 24 hours later by another North-South clash featuring Leeds Rhinos and the Kent-based Argonauts Skeleton Army who do battle for the Betfred Challenge Cup.
Dynamite won the inaugural Wheelchair Rugby League Trophy in 2019 when they defeated Hull FC, while the Wolves side was founded in the same year. The Trophy Final takes place at Warrington’s Cardinal Newman High School, kicking off at 1pm.
On Sunday Leeds Rhinos will defend the Betfred Wheelchair Challenge Cup title they won for the first time two years ago, when they face the Argonauts Skeleton Army at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
The Rhinos arrive at Sheffield unbeaten in five qualifying matches involving all six teams from the Wheelchair Super League, while the Argonauts edged out reigning Super League champions Halifax Panthers to secure their place.
It’s a match that will feature a host of international looking to put behind them the disappointment of the postponement of this year’s World Cup, including Leeds Rhinos’ Josh Butler, Nathan Collins, Tom Halliwell and James Simpson, and the Argonauts’ Joe Coyd and Lewis King.
England’s Joe Coyd, who scored four tries in June’s mid-season match international against Wales, says:
“We’ve trained so much together as England players this year in preparation for the World Cup that we’re almost like a little club, but on Sunday we’ll be going head-to-head.
“Leeds are a very special side and very familiar with one another. That familiarity is their biggest threat. We’re massively confident ourselves though. We are quite a new team, we play an exciting brand of rugby and whereas Leeds are very structured in their approach, we are the opposite. It should be a fantastic game.”
Leeds Rhinos’ Welsh international, Jodie-Ann Boyd-Ward, adds:
“I’m really excited. It’s been a long time coming and I’m raring to go. In my first season eight years ago we didn’t win a single game, so to go from that to defending the trophy is amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better team and better teammates – we’re family!”
The Betfred Challenge Cup final will be shown live on BBC Red Button on Sunday from 12.30pm.
Tickets, priced £10 adults and £5 concessions, will be on sale on matchday at the EIS office from 9am. Doors open at 11.30am. There are no advance tickets sales.
The wheelchair game is an adaptation of the running game, whose participants include physically disabled and non-disabled athletes. It is renowned as one of the most exciting variations of Rugby League.