Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Since 2016, Ireland, Scotland and Wales Wheelchair Rugby League national sides have participated in the Celtic Cup tournament which pits Europe’s three Celtic nations against each other in an annual tournament that has become one of the game’s most highly coveted competitions in the wheelchair format.
The single-day event will take place on the 7th of May (UK) at Wrexham’s Plas Madoc Leisure Centre with three 80 minute games taking place.
Hosts Wales will commence proceedings against Ireland in the first match which will be followed by Ireland taking on Scotland who will then back up and face Wales in the last game.
This year’s Celtic Cup will be all the more important as it has been ten years since the Irish, Scottish and Welsh Wheelchair Rugby League sides were established.
Wales has dominated the tournament since its inception having won the Celtic Cup for five consecutive seasons having not lost a single game and are favoured to make it six in a row in 2022.
Head coach Steve Jones recently spoke to Wales Rugby League’s media team about the upcoming tournament and what he expects from it.
“I want them to show that they can form properly as a fully formed squad, to work properly as a team with good communication and to start bringing in some of the set plays we’ve been working on throughout the year and towards the end of last year as well,” said Jones.
🏴🏴☘️ Celtic Cup Wheelchair Squads Named@WalesRugbyL are aiming to secure a 6th Celtic Cup crown tomorrow when they meet @scotlandrl & @Irelandrl Ireland in the annual tournament at the Plas Madoc Leisure Centre in Wrexham.
— European Rugby League (@EuroRugbyLeague) May 6, 2022
“We’ve only got ten players with us so you need them to be able to work really well as a close unit, which luckily we’ve always had that with Wales.
“Everyone has gelled nicely together.”
Jones’ side will be hoping to go into this year’s Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup in November as six-time Celtic Cup winners and will fancy themselves a favourite in the tournament that has been expanded to eight teams split into two groups of four.
Wales will begin their World Cup campaign against the back-to-back defending champions France in Sheffield before taking on tournament newcomers the USA and finally their Celtic Cup opponents Scotland.
These four teams make up group B while group A consists of hosts and inaugural World Cup winners in 2008 England, Australia, Ireland and Spain.