Three Rhinos named in England Wheelchair to face France

England's Nathan Collins in action

England Wheelchair Rugby League Head Coach Tom Coyd has named his matchday squad to face France tomorrow evening (Wednesday 10 November) at Gillingham’s Medway Park Sports Centre.

And Coyd includes two players – Adam Rigby and Declan Roberts – from the newly-formed Wigan Warriors team, alongside established players such as Nathan Collins, Tom Halliwell and James Simpson from the all-conquering Leeds Rhinos.   

Tomorrow’s match is the first in a two-test series against the reigning world champions and will be shown live via the BBC’s Red Button from 6.30pm. The Red Button coverage repeats the BBC’s coverage of England’s successful international against Wales earlier this year, while the cross-Channel series against the French sees both countries building towards next Autumn’s rescheduled Rugby League World Cup (RLWC2021).

England Wheelchair RL Head Coach, Tom Coyd, said: “This will probably be the most competitive series we will have experienced since we played in France back in 2019. We have been working so hard throughout the pandemic and through to the end of last season, so it’s a fantastic chance to see for real whether what we have been working on has been worthwhile. I also think it’s a great opportunity to put this squad under some pressure, which will be a great learning experience as we build towards the World Cup.”

England squad

Sebastien Bechara (Catalans Dragons/Halifax Panthers), Nathan Collins (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Coyd (Argonauts), Tom Halliwell (Leeds Rhinos, Captain), Rob Hawkins (Halifax Panthers), Lewis King (Argonauts), Adam Rigby, Declan Roberts (both Wigan Warriors), James Simpson (Leeds Rhinos)

France squad

Lionel Alazard (Montauban), Jérémy Bourson, Gilles Clausells, Nicolas Clausells (all Dragons), Dany Denuwelaere (Montauban), Thomas Duhalde (Euskadi), Guillaume Mautz (Avignon), Julien Penella (Euskadi), Arno Vargas (Dragons), Adrien Zittel (Arbent)

Players from both squads – military veterans James Simpson and Gilles Clausells – will pay their respects to the fallen on Remembrance Day, 11 November, 11am, at Chatham Naval War Memorial in Kent, where they will lay wreaths on behalf of the respective teams.

The second England versus France match takes place at the same Medway Park venue on Saturday 13 November, 4pm. Before then, those England squad members who have missed out on selection for tomorrow’s match – Nathan Mulhall, Freya Levy, Martin Norris and Fred Nye – will line up for England Knights against the France Espoirs at Medway on Friday.