What to watch out for at the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup

The wheelchair rugby tournament kicked off on Thursday at the Rugby League World Cup as 3,033 spectators packed into the Copper Box to watch England open their account with a 38-8 win over Australia.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how you can get into the tournament which will be televised over the next couple of weeks.

What is wheelchair rugby league?

England v Australia – Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – Group A – Copper Box Arena
Wheelchair rugby league follows similar rules to rugby league itself (Steve Paston/PA)

The wheelchair competition has been introduced into the World Cup for the first time alongside the men and women’s World Cups. The game is played indoors with two teams of five and many rules follow the standard game of rugby league. Tries are scored by touching the ball down in the in-goal area, conversions are made by punching the ball over posts from a tee, tackles are made by pulling off the attached tag on the players’ shoulders and six tackles are followed by a turnover of possession with offsides and knock-ons following the same procedure.

How many teams are in the World Cup?

England v Australia – Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – Group A – Copper Box Arena
Eight teams will play in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup (Steven Paston/PA)

Eight teams feature in the wheelchair World Cup, split into two groups. England are grouped with Ireland, Spain and Australia while Scotland and Wales are up against current world number one side France and debutants the United States.

Where can I watch it?

England v Australia – Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – Group A – Copper Box Arena
All games will be broadcast on BBC (Steven Paston/PA)

All games in the Wheelchair Rugby World Cup will be broadcast live on BBC channels, alongside the men’s and women’s games with exclusive time slots so none of the formats clash with each other.

Who are favourites to win the tournament?

England v Australia – Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – Group A – Copper Box Arena
England are second favourites to win the tournament (Steven Paston/PA)

France are current favourites to win the tournament and won the title in 2017, taking their tally to two World Cups. England won the inaugural tournament back in 2008 and are ranked second favourites to lift the trophy while Wales, Spain, USA, Ireland, Scotland and Australia all rank as outsiders.

Where will the games take place?

England v Australia – Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – Group A – Copper Box Arena
The Copper Box plays host to Group A (Steven Paston/PA)

The games will take place across three venues in England. The Copper Box, which was originally built for the 2012 Olympic Games, will play host to the games in Group A. Group B will be hosted in the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, with the same venue playing host to the semi-finals, where the top two of each group will meet. The final showpiece will be played in Manchester Central.

Who can play wheelchair rugby league

Anyone is able to play wheelchair rugby league. Both disabled and non-disabled players have the opportunity to get involved and all players compete together regardless of age or gender.

Who to watch out for

England v Australia – Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup – Group A – Copper Box Arena
Jack Brown, right, was named the first-ever Wheelchair Rugby League Golden Boot winner (Steven Paston/PA)

Many players will catch the eye throughout the next couple of weeks, but England’s Jack Brown was crowned player of the match in England’s opening day victory alongside the first international Golden Boot in wheelchair rugby league and many will be keen to keep an eye on him. Declan Roberts may also have a stand-out tournament, after finishing as top scorer for Wigan Warriors with his first season at the club.