Leeds Rhinos star issues 'thanks and sorry' message to fans after England wheelchair rugby league loss
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England staged a spirited second half fightback, but fell just short after trailing 30-12 at half-time in front of a crowd of 2,311. It was the first time England have played in Leeds and the biggest venue to stage a wheelchair Test.
Halliwell, who captained the team, said: “I want to say a massive thank you to the fans for coming out and supporting us. It means so much to me to be able to represent my country and captain the boys in my home city.
“It was very emotional, during the national anthem I was crying my eyes out. Obviously we didn’t get the result and as players we apologise to the fans for that.
“We gave ourselves too much to do. You can’t fault our character in the second half, coming back like we did, but in the first half we left too much of a gap to be chased down.”
England coach Tom Coyd described last Sunday’s occasion as “really special”. He said: “It was one of the great days of everyone’s career, without doubt. Full credit to the RFL and RL Commercial for putting his event on, because it was beautiful.”
The world champions will get a chance for revenge when the teams meet again at the Palais des Sports in Marseille on November 26. Coyd said: “It’s a fantastic contest now. We have got an opportunity to go over there and beat them on their home turf, which has only been done once before, which was by us. It is a challenge we will relish, but right now we are really upset and will be for a few days.”
Reflecting on the defeat in Leeds, Coyd insisted: “We had full belief at half-time we are going to get it back and if the ball had bounced the other way a couple of times, we would have done.
“Execution let us down and in the middle part of the first half we probably left three tries on the field, just from execution of the offload - passing into the shins instead of the hands. When you give any France team that many opportunities to score points. Full credit to them, they played really well.”