Leeds Rhinos star Tom Halliwell to captain England's Wheelchair rugby league side in mid-season Test against Wales
Leeds Rhinos' Tom Halliwell will captain England in Saturday’s wheelchair rugby league Test against Wales at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Halliwell was in Rhinos’ youth system before switching to the wheelchair game after suffering a broken leg.
He made his England debut, aged 16, in 2015 and was involved in the World Cup two years later.
He captained the England Knights wheelchair side two years ago and also featured for England against France and on their unbeaten 2019 tour to Australia.
Halliwell, who has been named player of the match in two of Rhinos’ three games this year, admitted the captaincy was a shock.
“I was surprised when I was told,” he said.
“There are so many great players in the squad, but I am thrilled to be able to lead out such an amazing group of players, especially after seeing the amount of hard work everyone has put in during the Covid pandemic.
“It is always an honour to pull on an England shirt and leading the side against Wales will be a dream come true.”
Recalling his transition to the wheelchair game, Halliwell - who works full-time at a special educational needs school in Ossett, Wakefield - said: “I was part of the
Leeds Rhinos academy, but that was cut short when I broke my leg in a freak training accident and was told I would not be the same player.
“Thanks to the coaches at Leeds, I turned my attention to the wheelchair game and the rest is history”.
England coach Tom Coyd said: “Tom’s attitude to training and willingness to learn has been exemplary.
“He has grown to be one of the most influential players in the domestic competition, with
great game knowledge and leadership qualities.”
Halliwell takes over from long-time captain Jack Brown, who has moved to Queensland.
Saturday’s game begins at 12.30pm and will be broadcast on the BBC’s red button service.