England Wheelchair Rugby League selectors name squads for landmark Ashes tour and Home Nations tournament
England’s Wheelchair Rugby League selectors have named both the squad to tour Australia in October and a squad to take part in this month's Home Nations tournament.
The Ashes squad features eight players who in June inflicted a first-ever home defeat on reigning world champions France, plus the experienced Halifax player Wayne Boardman, and Argonauts’ James Hazel. Catalans Dragons’ Sebastien Bechara is the only non-Wheelchair Super League representative.
England’s tour begins with a warm up match against a North Queensland side in Townsville on Tuesday 15 October, followed by a first ever fixture against Queensland in Brisbane three days later (Friday 18 October). The squad will then travel south to Sydney, where they will play the first Test Match against Australia on Monday 21 October
The second test is in Wollongong on Wednesday 23 October – 48 hours prior to the annual Australia versus New Zealand ANZAC tests for both women’s and men’s sides in the same city. Australia’s men’s and women’s squads will be guests at the game and witness the wheelchair variant of Rugby League at international level for the first time.
The tour concludes with a match against New South Wales in Wollongong on Friday 25 October, prior to the international game between Australia and New Zealand.
Martin Coyd OBE, the chair of England Wheelchair Rugby League, said:
“I’d like to congratulate all players on their selection for England Wheelchair Rugby League’s first Ashes tour of Australia. This is a huge development for the wheelchair game, a massive challenge awaits and I am sure they will do their country proud.
“All players of our game aspire to reach the highest level and pulling on an England jersey in Australia will be the pinnacle. And the more international competition our players can experience between now and hosting the World Cup in 2021, the better-prepared we will be for what will be a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for the players and the game in this country.
“With the Aussies are coming here in 2020, we will continue to build on our growing reputation and profile as an exciting version of Rugby League ahead of the World Cup.”
The full squad is as follows.
Sebastien Bechara (Catalan Dragons); Wayne Boardman (Halifax); Jack Brown (Halifax); Nathan Collins (Leeds Rhinos); Joe Coyd (Argonauts); Tom Halliwell (Leeds Rhinos); James Hazel (Argonauts); Lewis King (Argonauts); Ryan Richardson (Leeds Rhinos); James Simpson (Leeds Rhinos).
Prior to the tour Down Under, the following players will represent England at the Wheelchair Rugby League Home Nations competition at Wrexham on 28/29 September.
Jodie Boyd-Ward (Leeds Rhinos); Josh Butler (Leeds Rhinos); Nathan Collins (Leeds Rhinos); James Hazel (Argonauts); Tom Halliwell (Leeds Rhinos); Rob Hawkins (Halifax); Lewis King (Argonauts); Nathan Mulhall (Halifax); Fred Nye (Argonauts); James Simpson (Leeds Rhinos).