What next for wheelchair rugby league? World Cup winning brothers discuss the rapidly growing sport

Following the success of the World Cup winning men’s wheelchair rugby league side the RFL have released footage of a conversation between the Coyd brothers, Tom (Head Coach) and Joe (Player), in an amazing insight into the game that is becoming a huge sensation.

It was a brilliant final that England won as they defeated France 28-24 to avenge their 2017 loss and was the crowning moment of the hugely successful tournament.

The game saw 4,526 people pack into Manchester Central and watch England secure victory via a late Tom Halliwell effort, that attendance being a world record for such an event.

All of the games were also broadcast across the BBC with each and every one of England’s games shown on BBC2 and then every other game either available on the same channel or via streaming platforms.

Head coach Tom and brother Joe, who plays, had discussed prior to the tournament the way in which the game has developed and in the midst of their success the footage has been released by the RFL via twitter.

Joe talked about how he fell into the game on account of his dad pushing him to try it.

“Dad basically forced me when I was about 11, I figured why would I play wheelchair rugby? I’m not disabled and not in a wheelchair but I absolutely loved it. It’s a bit of a novelty at first pushing the wheels and stuff,” Joe explained whilst chatting to brother Tom.

Head Coach Tom discussed the quick development of the game: “Since then (joining as assistant coach) the programme has blossomed, it’s almost unrecognisable from what it was like when I first got involved back in 2018.

“The support that we’ve got from the England Performance Unite and the RFL is amazing, we’re training in the best facilities now whereas before we were lucky to be able to get inside a sports hall at all.”

With the huge success of the World Cup including major viewing figures across the whole tournament but specifically the final which reached 500,000 viewers at one point, the game is sure to continue to develop.

That TV exposure was something that is a huge contrast to the previous times the side had played with Joe commenting on the fact BBC2 were to broadcast all of their games.

It’s special and pretty ground-breaking stuff.  In 2019 we had a bloke on his phone on his social media platform about 50 metres away for Facebook live. We’ve come a long way.”

This huge exposure has been received well and therefore triggered a flurry of taster sessions across the country including one in which Halifax Panthers star Rob Hawkins attended.

The team have also since been named as the Sports Journalist Associations Para Team of the Year winning the prestigious Bill McGowran Trophy.

These major developments mark all of and more of what Joe hoped the World Cup legacy would be.

“I hope for the overall game that people just go ‘wow this is incredible, I can’t believe I’ve never been involved in this or watched or played it’. Hopefully it booms across the UK and clubs pop up here there and everywhere.”

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