WRL appoint lead Wheelchair RL development officers in North and South Wales

Wales’ Wheelchair Rugby League head coach Stephen Jones and assistant coach Lyndon Price have been appointed as the WRL’s new lead Wheelchair RL development officers.

The move follows WRL’s recent acceptance into Disability Sport Wales’ insport programme, one of 26 Welsh sporting governing bodies who are members.

Jones and Price were appointed in their roles by WRL CEO Gareth Kear, to work with the organisation’s insport consultant Norman Greenhouse to help WRL achieve Gold Ribbon status as a governing body.

A key part of their new roles will be to deliver Wheelchair taster sessions in their respective areas of Wales. Jones, who also coaches North Wales Crusaders, and Price, who was appointed head coach of the new wheelchair side at Torfaen Tigers that was launched last week, will be working with our existing community RL clubs in Cardiff, Caerphilly, Rhondda, Bridgend, Aberavon, Wrexham and surrounding schools with guidance and grant applications support.

Kear said: “Our vision is to create new wheelchair teams as part of our existing community clubs and ultimately establish a WRL community club Wheelchair Rugby League competition. These community clubs and competition will then form part of the international pathway selection process for our 2021 Rugby League World Cup wheelchair squad, with Wales coming into the tournament being ranked third in the world.”

Wales Wheelchair RL head coach Steve Jones.

Jones, who started coaching with Wales in 2014 and became head coach in 2016, said: “It is a honour and a privilege to be appointed as the insport officer for North Wales by Wales Rugby League.

“I hope that all my of experience with the insport awards at various clubs and versions of the sport will be beneficial to all the clubs under the WRL banner, and I’m looking forward to helping all the clubs with their journey through the insport bands.

“I will always make time for clubs and organisations that want to grow the inclusivity and diversity of our sport in all the great versions that we run.”

Price, who became involved with the Welsh Wheelchair side in 2018, said: “I am naturally delighted to be appointed to this new role. I am extremely passionate about wheelchair sport and Wheelchair Rugby League especially. Gareth Kear has a determined vision for the development of Wheelchair Rugby League in Wales, and I am honoured to be included in this vision.

“My coaching journey began as an “upright” in Sheffield when I was part of the team for the Hillsborough Hawks u18 side as both my sons played for the club, and my daughter cooked the post-match meals.

“I then became a Wheelchair RL coach after being inspired by three incredible coaches in the INVICTUS teams after being part of the 2014 squad, Paul Jenkins, Mike Spence and Scott Wallace. This led to my coaching Hereford Harriers from its inception, and now delighted to have helped establish the Torfaen Tigers Wheelchair team.”

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