Representative Physical Disability Rugby League continues to flourish

16 Jul 23, 8:38AM 0 Comments

Written by Rugby Football League

Photo by RFL

England were triumphant in the first ever Physical Disability Rugby League World Cup last October – and the representative game continues to flourish.

Two Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) squads met at York St John University last Saturday (July 8) to take part in a domestic representative fixture.

England PDRL Community Lions Head Coach, Michelle Melling, invited 30 players to the event in York which is part of a new international programme that has been developed to incorporate a more inclusive approach to representative PDRL.

In a change to previous domestic representative games, all participating players selected have been through the IRL’s classification process, similar to the Paralympic classification framework, putting them into one of three classes based on their impairment emphasising equity in playing.

Saturday’s fixture saw the group split into two teams with the match ending 40-36. Players from across the UK came together for the event, with Wakefield Trinity trio, Callum Parkinson, Darren Dean and Adam Fleming, all impressing on the day. Parkinson scored a hat-trick of tries for his team and both Dean and Fleming finished with a personal haul of 16 points apiece.

England Community Lions Head Coach, Michelle Melling, says:

“Our new programme has seen more players being invited to sessions to train and play so that they can be in an aspirational environment which will help themselves develop, as well as the overall PDRL game.

“I was really impressed with the quality of Rugby League on show at all the sessions especially in York at the weekend, and I hope to build on this aspirational offer moving forward as we look to continue to build on the success of the England Community Lions World Cup win last Autumn.”

Since England’s win in the inaugural PDRL World Cup, the inclusive version of the game has seen an incredible 50% increase in participation and this year’s training fixtures give invited players an opportunity to test themselves – including a number of players from Wales and other nations in a bid to support their playing offers.

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