Ebbw Rollers form to become Wales’ second Wheelchair RL club

Wales is to get its second Wheelchair Rugby League club next season following the launch of Ebbw Rollers, who have become South Wales’ first ever side.

North Wales Crusaders already field sides in the Super League and Championship and Ebbw Rollers are set to join them in the lower competition in 2020. They have also applied to enter the Wheelchair Rugby League Challenge Cup.

Ebbw Rollers will be part of the already established Ebbw Vale Wheelchair Sports Club, who already have sides in wheelchair rugby union 7s, basketball, tennis, boccia and volleyball sports. These are all inclusive wheelchair-based sports to create a level playing field for everyone.

The club was formed by club secretary Mark Turner, club chairman Jason Reynolds, vice chairman Anthony Gill and the Wales Wheelchair international side assistant coach Lyndon Price, who delivered the first taster session, back in July 2018.

Mark Turner, alongside WRL CEO Gareth Kear.

Turner, who will also be the rugby league side’s first head coach, said: “We’re delighted to announce that Ebbw Rollers will be entering the Rugby Football League’s Wheelchair Championship and Challenge Cup competitions for 2020.

“After speaking to WRL CEO Gareth Kear, I feel that we can give everyone a good game, and what better way to learn as far as skill and ability is concerned, than to play regular matches and compete and improve on every game.

“The club provides all the necessary equipment for all players. We look forward to competing, and we also hope to develop players for the Wales Rugby League international side.

“Ebbw Rollers are now looking for sponsors for our league kit and the velcro tags. If anyone can assist, please contact me at mark.evwsc@gmail.com.”

Wales head coach Steve Jones is delighted that he’s now going to have a larger selection of players to choose from.

He said: “A new club in Wales is a very exciting opportunity for the Welsh squad. It’ll bring new talent into the sport and gives a brighter future for the Wales side.

“We had a very good year in 2019 in winning our fourth Celtic Cup in a row and running England close in two tests. New players are always welcome but it’ll certainly give me some selection headaches for 2020 after one of our most successful years ever.”

Wheelchair Rugby League is fairly unique in that it offers both disabled and non-disabled players of all genders the opportunity to compete both with and against each other on a level playing field.

This is created by the use of wheelchairs and some slight adaptations to the rules of 13-a-side Rugby League.

  • There are five players on each side
  • The object of the game is to score tries
  • Conversions are scored by punching the ball over the mini-posts from a tee
  • Tackles are made in the same way as Tag Rugby by pulling off the attached tag
  • Five tackles are followed by the handing over of possession
  • Offside, knock-on and in-touch apply just like in the full version of the game

For more information on Wheelchair Rugby League, please go to https://wrl.wales/wheelchair.

Ebbw Rollers’ website can be found at https://ebbw-vale-wheelchair-sports-club.business.site/.