England Wheelchair rugby league squad begin World Cup preparations with Leedsground-breaking tests at Leeds Beckett University

England's wheelchair rugby League squad have been using facilities in Leeds as they begin preparations for next year’s World Cup.

The squad have undergone performance testing at Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie School of Sport.

Players were put through their paces by university and Rugby Football League (RFL) experts. Exercises included body fat and muscle mass scans, biomechanics assessments, fitness tests and blood tests, cardiac screening, concussion tests and psychological profiling.

Leeds Rhinos’ England star James Simpson said: “It’s the first time I’ve seen the Carnegie School of Sport.

Players from England's wheelchair rugby league squad have undergone testing at the Carnegie School of Sport. Picture c/o Leeds Beckett University.

“Getting the chance to come and use it and do all these ground-breaking tests - which we’ve never done before - is massive and being from Leeds, it’s awesome to do it here as well.”

He added: “The staff have been brilliant.

“We’re a disabled team with a lot of disabled athletes with different needs and they have been really good at adapting each specific thing to what we need.

“It will massively benefit our preparation for the World Cup.

“It has never been done before and I don’t know if any other country is doing this so it gives us that edge we need.

“Even if it’s just one or two per cent of an edge it will definitely come in handy.”

The link with Leeds Beckett is a bonus after the World Cup, scheduled for this autumn, was postponed for a year because of Covid.

“We wouldn’t be here at Leeds Beckett if the World Cup had gone ahead as planned,” team manager Martin Coyd said.

“We’re now in a place where we can take advantage of this and be even better at what we do 12 months later.”

Professor Ben Jones, from Carnegie School of Sport said: “It’s the first time we’ve been able to put this group of athletes through testing like this.

“We’ve pulled a big research team together with different areas of expertise to lead each of the sections.

“It will give us some really important information - in the short-term to support the training of the athletes, in the medium-term for the World Cup and in the longer-term for the sport.”

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