Rhinos star Halliwell named England Wheelchair captain

Tom Halliwell during training.

The England Wheelchair Rugby League team have today named their new Captain for the upcoming mid-season international against Wales on Saturday June 26th at EIS Sheffield.

Following the extensive training camps, both online and in person, the 2021 National Performance squad of 16 was picked. Head Coach, Tom Coyd has had the unenviable decision of whittling down the squad once again, to just 10 players, for the upcoming International and has now decided on the person to lead the team against Wales on the 26th of June as they continue to prepare for the upcoming World Cup in the autumn.

Coyd told us,” Tom was first called into the England set-up in 2015 at just 16 years old. Since then, his attitude to training and willingness to learn has been exemplary. Learning his trade as a development player with limited opportunities to play internationally, Tom has bided his time and never wavered in his determination to realise his potential.” 

“After playing a small part in the 2017 World Cup, Tom returned to club duties at Leeds Rhinos and was a key part in the creation of their great team. Since then, he has grown to be one of the most influential players in the domestic competition, with great game knowledge and leadership qualities. Leeds Rhinos have become one of the top two teams in the UK.”

 “Tom captained the England Wheelchair Knights to Tri Nations victory in 2019 as England defeated Wales and Scotland to win the series. He played a key role in the landmark victory over France on their home soil, and the undefeated Tour of Australia in October of the same year.”

 “The departure of long-time captain Jack Brown, who has moved to Queensland, has provided an opportunity for players to step up into leadership roles as the team evolves and dynamics change within.”

“Through the COVID period and since returning to play in March of this year, Tom has set a very high standard with regards to intensity of our practice, attention to detail and being an ambassador for Wheelchair Rugby League. Tom has the respect of his teammates and opponents each time he takes the field, and I am excited for him to lead us out on Saturday.”

Halliwell has already started the new season with a bang after being named player of the match twice in his first three outings for the Leeds Rhinos side.

Tom is also a full-time educational support worker at a SEN school in Ossett in Wakefield and has worked with primary age children for the last three years.

21-year-old Halliwell told us his journey to becoming Captain, “I was part of the Leeds Rhinos running Academy but that was cut short when I broke my leg in a freak training accident and was told that I would not be the same player. Thanks to the coaches at Leeds, I turned my attentions to the Wheelchair game and the rest, as they say, is history”.

“I was surprised when I was told I would be Captain for the game, as there are so many great players in the squad but am thrilled to be able to lead out such an amazing group of players, especially after seeing the amount of hard work everyone has put in during the Covid pandemic”.

“It is always an honour to pull on an England shirt and thanks to the Head Coach leading the side against Wales will be a dream come true.”.

England face Wales at 12.30pm on Saturday 26th June at EIS Sheffield and the game will also be on the BBC Red Button.