Yesterday, the Dundee International Sport Centre was announced yesterday as the host of a friendly game scheduled to take place April 18 between Scotland and Ireland’s national wheelchair rugby league teams. The game is scheduled to be the first international wheelchair rugby league match played on Scottish soil. It is a warmup for the upcoming European Championships.
The Scottish team played their first international in 2012, and then competed in the 2013 World Cup. For this friendly, they will be coached by Jamie Seery. Dundee Dragons is one of the best teams in Scotland, and a number of Scotland’s players are drawn from the side.
The sport of wheelchair rugby is relatively new, having been developed in France in 2004 by Robert Fassolette and Wally Salvan. The first World Cup took place in 2008 in Sydney, Australia, with four teams participating, England winning it all and Australia finished second. The second edition took place in Gillingham, England in 2013, with six teams participating. It was won by France, with England finishing second.
The game is open to both sportspeople with and without disabilities of all genders. Wheelchair rugby league tries to remain as faithful to the sport of rugby league as possible, including rules related to tries, and conversions. Differences include each time having five players on the field at at time, with tries scored the same way and conversions made by punching the ball from a tee over mini rugby league posts. Tackling is done by removing a flag from the player with the ball. After five successful tackles, the team with the ball needs to turn it over to the opposing side. The same rules in the non-wheelchair version apply for offside, knock-on and in touch.