Debut: Vs York City Knights 18/04/21
Winger Adaoha Akwiwu was one of six academy players to make the step up to the Leeds Rhinos Women’s first team in 2021, after impressing in Matty Bullough’s Rhinos Women’s Academy side.
Making her debut in round one of the 2021 Betfred Women’s Super League, Akwiwu opened her try scoring account with a brace in a brilliant 68-16 win over York City Knights. Against Featherstone Rovers, she continued her great start with two more tries in another Leeds win and also featured against Bradford Bulls in the quarter finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup but she suffered an ACL injury which ruled her out.
Akwiwu started playing rugby league for Illingworth RL in Halifax and won the Yorkshire Cup in the Under-13s and Under-15s and the National Cup in 2018. Her first rugby memory was coming off the pitch in the Under-13s Cup final with a bloody nose and her stepdad put it back in and sent her straight back onto the pitch. Her most memorable rugby moment also comes from the National Cup Final, where she scored both tries in a 14-12 win.
She has also played rugby union, following in the footsteps of her stepdad who played both the 15 and 13 player codes all his life, and she has represented Yorkshire County from 2017-2020 and earned recognition in England’s Talent Development Group (which is her greatest achievement). She is inspired by her mum, who taught her how to be confident in herself, have self respect and she’s so successful at everything she does. She also said that she highly recommends rugby league to girls because every girl who plays rugby is very accepting and all come from different back grounds, it’s something different from the ‘norm’ and you can make mates for life all up and down the country.
Off the field, Akwiwu is studying A-level Chemistry, Economics and PE at Crossley Heath Grammar School Sixth form and enjoys cooking and eating food, knitting, netball and both rugby codes and finding different ways to help in her community. An interesting fact about Akwiwu is that she is a princess of the village she comes from and is a quarter Danish and her favourite sports person is South Sydney Rabbitohs and Australia international Latrell Mitchell. For aspiring players, her best advice is just be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be confident and to get involved (who wants to be stood out on the wing not getting involved!).