Wales are to enter the first-ever Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) World Cup, an exhibition event, which will be held during next year’s showpiece tournament – The Rugby League World Cup 2021.
The five-team tournament will be hosted in Warrington from 1 November 2021 and will be a festival of exciting and competitive international PDRL. The event will culminate with the final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium ahead of France v Samoa in the final men’s group A match, on 7 November 2021.
The PDRL event was originally planned under the banner of the Festival of World Cups, which was due to take place in the summer of 2021, but the Festival was recently postponed because of the impact of COVID-19. RLWC2021 have today (28 October) announced delivering the PDRL World Cup as part of the wider programme of the tournament, adding to the commitment of being the most inclusive Rugby League World Cup ever.
The PDRL World Cup, which will run alongside RLWC2021, comprises teams from five nations who will take part in a mini-tournament format. England, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and Wales are all set to compete for the first ever PDRL World Cup title.
PDRL is an adapted version of rugby league aimed at facilitating those with physical disabilities the opportunity to play.
Wales Rugby League CEO Gareth Kear said: “Wales Rugby League are totally committed to providing accessible rugby league for the whole of the community regardless of ability or disability and from all backgrounds and conditions including muscular, sight and mental.
“Inclusion has always been part of our DNA and we are very proud to pioneer disability rugby league in Wales. We look forward to Rugby League World Cup in 2021 to help launch disability teams at our existing community rugby league clubs throughout Wales.”
Steve Jones, the head coach of Wales Wheelchair and a coach at North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair Rugby League and Disability Sports Club, said: “I think it a great step forward for disability sports in Wales with today’s announcement that Wales are going to be participating in the 2021 PDRL World Cup. As the first club in Wales with a PDRL team, I hope this announcement will help the game grow and, who knows, maybe some of our new players may one day represent our country.”
RLWC2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton said: “We are delighted that we can still deliver this first-ever PDRL World Cup alongside the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair competitions in what will certainly be the biggest, best and importantly most inclusive Rugby League World Cup in history.
“The action will be intense, and the final being staged at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium before the France v Samoa game ensures not only a big crowd but also a fitting finale to this tournament. Although we are sad that the Festival of World Cups has understandably been postponed, we are proud that we can stage the PDRL World Cup.”
For more details about PDRL in Wales, please go to https://wrl.wales/physical-disability-rl