Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup 2021
England (26) 38
Tries: Coyd 2, Brown 2, Collins 2, King Goals: Hawkins, Collins 4
Australia (6) 8
Attempts: Karim Karim and McKenna scored goals.
England started their Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup campaign with a 38-8 victory over Australia.
Joe Coyd, Jack Brown, and Nathan Collins each scored two tries as the hosts established an early lead at London’s Copper Box Arena.
England, the 2008 champions and two-time beaten finalists, and holders France are the favorites for the title.
Lewis King scored on his World Cup debut, and Collins added four goals.
The sport, which bills itself as “rugby league in wheelchairs,” features crunching tackles, brilliant ball handling, tough defense, skill, athleticism, and speed.
It also takes pride in its inclusivity, with disabled and non-disabled players able to play on the same team at all levels, and male and female players able to line up together.
In front of a record crowd of 3,033, Australia came out strong, forcing a goal-line drop out and allowing Diab Karim in for the first score.
England waited patiently as Australia dictated play until Coyd, coach Tom’s brother, broke through on 19 minutes.
The try, combined with the introduction of Brown, one of two World Cup winners from 2008 still playing for England, gave them a spark, and moments later a sweeping move put Coyd in for his second try.
Brown and Seb Bechara then began to exert their influence on the game, and with the Wheelaroos also conceding penalties, the momentum shifted to England.
Although they maintained their dominance, with King and Collins scoring, there is still plenty of room for improvement before their next game against Spain on Sunday.
“I think we blew a few cobwebs away out there. These boys are part of a special squad “Brown, the match’s MVP, told BBC Sport.
“Australia showed a lot of class out there, but I think the English guys wanted it more.
“I was nervous about being able to gel with the guys after not playing with England for two years, but Tom instilled confidence in me to trust the process and try to live up to the hype.
“We’ve never seen anything like this at a World Cup before. It’s a dream come true and something truly unique.”
A ‘brutal’ sport attracts a devoted following
Nathan Collins is competing in his second World Cup for England.
Although this is the fourth wheelchair competition, it is the first time it has been included in the Rugby League World Cup main event, and those watching the game on BBC Two were impressed with what they saw.
“I’ve played Rugby League for many years and have taken some serious blows. But this is cruel “Adie Smith said on Twitter.
“Turns out wheelchair rugby league is one of the most genuinely entertaining sports I’ve ever watched,” Elanor Banks said, while Nathan Mattick called it “a fantastic advertisement for disability sport.”
“How brilliant that rugby league is leading the way in inclusivity, men’s, women’s, physical disability, and wheelchair World Cup all at the same time,” @brayster72 added. “Not just a little northern sport”
Former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow is another convert.
Theo Gonzalez scored 25 points as Spain defeated Ireland 55-32 in the tournament’s first match, also in Group A.
Although Phil Roberts, a World Cup winner with England in 2008, gave the Irish an early lead, the Spanish quickly took control of the game, scoring 30 unanswered points in the first half.
Ireland captain Peter Johnston Jr led his team with four tries and four goals, but Spain easily won.
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