WRL Wheelchair League to kick off in Croesyceiliog

Croesyceiliog School near Cwmbran, will be the venue of the opening games of the second season of the WRL Wheelchair Invitational League, when it all kicks off on Saturday 20 April.

The Argonauts from Kent, won the inaugural title last year, and they’ll feature in the first match of the season as they take on hosts Torfaen Tigers (kick-off 9.30am).

It’s part of a triple header of Wheelchair Rugby League action at the venue where The Argonauts take on new side Crusaders Celts in the second game, with the Tigers and the Celts then facing off in game three. Crusaders Celts are the second side from North Wales in the league and will be based at Deeside Leisure Centre.

Such was the success and popularity of the first season, where all games are available to watch on YouTube, this year’s campaign has been extended and all sides will now play 12 games in the regular season, compared to the four that they all played last year. Each side will host two triple headers and travel away four times.

Round one is completed on April 27, when Hereford Harriers host North Wales Crusaders and Cardiff Blue Dragons at Leominster Leisure Centre.

Stephen Jones, the head of Wheelchair RL in Wales said: “We’re delighted that the WRL Wheelchair Invitational League is kicking off for a second season. Part of the feedback that we had was that sides wanted to play a longer season and more than one game in a day, so we’re delighted that we’ve been able to accommodate that.

“We now have an even spread of sides, with two in North Wales, two in South Wales and two in the south of England, but that’s just the start. We’ve had interest from other clubs already for 2025, so watch this space for more expansion as we continue to develop players ahead of the 2026 World Cup, which we’ve already qualified for.”

Teams are only allowed to field one “elite” player at one time. An elite player is someone who has played for a Super League club or been part of an international side this year.

Argonauts’ founder/coach Fred Nye is delighted that the WRL Wheelchair Invitational League is returning for its second season.

“We didn’t expect to win it, or even play as well as we did last year,” he said. “We wanted to enter to make sure every player has time of the court and develop the club. It’s amazing that we’re coming in to defend our title and we can’t wait to face Torfaen in the opening game. The fact that it’s this season is three times as long will make it even more special.”

Talking about the new Crusaders Celts side, Harry Jones said: “Coming into this season we at North Wales Crusaders wanted to concentrate on player development and to do that we knew that a consistent level of game time was key. Having two teams in the RFL setup the past few years has worked wonders for development, but with the available game time in that set-up dwindling from season to season, we needed to find a way to get our youngsters and newbies some game time, thus the formation of a second team from North Wales in the Welsh competition.

“Last season, turning up to a gameday with a squad of 15-20 players all needing game time was a hugely positive problem for us to have. We’ve split the teams as evenly as possible, with internationals, fringe players and newbies on each side.

“As my international time is coming to an end, I want to help develop the next generation of Wales international players and by entering a second team into the competition, I believe this is the best opportunity to do so.”

The first round of fixtures are below. The remaining fixtures can all be viewed, club by club, on the Wheelchair League section of https://wrl.wales.

Round 1.1 20/4/24 – Croesyceiliog School, Turnpike Road, Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran, NP44 2YB
Torfaen Tigers V The Argonauts – 9.30am 
The Argonauts V Crusader Celts – 10.55am
Torfaen Tigers V Crusader Celts – 12.25pm

Round 1.2 27/4/24 – Leominster Leisure Centre Coningsby Rd, Leominster HR6 8LL
Hereford Harriers V Cardiff Blue Dragons – 11.45am
North Wales Crusaders V Cardiff Blue Dragons – 1pm
Hereford Harriers V North Wales Crusaders – 2.15pm