Able2Do Anything: Sports

England win Wheelchair Rugby World Cup

England win Wheelchair Rugby World Cup

England claimed victory over France at the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup final on Friday, 18 November.

Captain Tom Halliwell scored a late try with just three minutes left in the game in front of a record breaking 4,526 crowd in Manchester.

The win broke a run of bad luck for England who were defeated in the past two successive finals.

England head coach Tom Coyd told BBC Sport: "I was crying like a baby. I don't know what to say. We knew we were going to win that game by two or four points. We said that the whole time.

"I'm just so proud of the guys and this crowd, and everyone for getting behind wheelchair rugby league and England rugby league. We just deserve it."

At first it did not seem promising for England, they were 14-6 down in the first half, but after 55 minutes the team led 22-14.

France undoubtedly had the best of the refereeing calls in the second half and the kicking of Nico Clausells helped keep them in the game.

It was looking like another defeat for Englamnd, but in the final few minutes Halliwell scored the winning goal.

Halliwell told BBC Sport: "We've all been working for this for five years. Everyone has been trying to get better and better. Tonight's performance put it to where we're at. We're the world's best.

"It was written in the stars, a home World Cup in front of these fans. At half-time, we said we'd win this game by four points.

"This is what it's all about. Rugby league is a community sport and wheelchair rugby league is no exception. Everybody can play this game and that's why I love it.

"I'm forever grateful for this sport. Whatever I do in my life now I'll do for this sport. I'm forever in debt."

But French coach Sylvain Crismanovich challenged the referee's decisions in the second half.

"Do you want the heartfelt response or the professional response? It was an exceptional England team - congratulations to England. But there was a lot of confusion around the refereeing,” he said.

Crismanovich was also unhappy non-disabled players were part of the teams, a concern he raised leading up to the tournament.

"There's an impact on the bodies of the players," he said. "Unfortunately today, England went for the spectacle and the show rather than prioritising the disabled players."

Lionel Alazard scored a penalty for France early in the game, but Halliwell scored for England 17 minutes into the match.

Coyd brought on Jack Brown 26 minutes into the game, but France scored again after Mostefa Abassi scored his 17th try of the tournament.

But Brown bounced back just before the break, scoring a goal, paving the way for England's victorious second half.

Brown scored his second try in the second half, but just when things were looking promising for England…Nico Clausells scored two goals making it a level game as it entered the final quarters.

But Nathan Collins held his nerve with a 68th-minute penalty before Nico Clausells responded again to ensure a grandstand finish.

With just three minutes to go, Halliwell scored the winning goal for England.

The final scores were England (12) 28, France (14) 24.

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