- Over 300 players with learning disabilities to take part in a World Cup-themed festival.
- The festival kicks off the action in the build-up to the Rugby League World Cup in October.
- Find out more about our disability squads at Wigan Warriors HERE.
This year’s Rugby League World Cup is already billed as the sport’s most inclusive ever – now the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League (LDSL) is set to be part of the action.
The main tournament, featuring Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair competitions, kicks off in Newcastle on Saturday 15 October.
Before then, on Sunday 2 October, nearly 300 players with learning disabilities will head to Headingley Stadium, Leeds, to take part in a World Cup-themed Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League festival – the final Learning Disability Rugby League (LDRL) event of the year and its contribution to the wider Festival of World Cups which also includes a Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) competition running alongside the main event.
The Headingley festival has been organised by the RFL in association with RLWC2021 and Community Integrated Care, title sponsor of the Learning Disability Super League and the RFL’s social care partner. Foundations supporting the event are: Barrow Raiders; Castleford Tigers; Featherstone Rovers; Hull FC; Hull KR; Leeds Rhinos; Newcastle Thunder; St Helens; Salford Red Devils; Sheffield Eagles; Wakefield Trinity; Warrington Wolves; Widnes Vikings; Wigan Warriors; York City Knights.
The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League was established in 2018 and gives people who have learning disabilities and autism the chance to play a specially adapted, non-competitive version of Rugby League for the clubs that they love, focusing on encouraging participation and skills development. Alongside the physical disability and wheelchair variations of the game, the sport makes a significant difference to people’s lives.
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, says:
“We’re all very excited to be part of the Festival of World Cups. Nearly 300 players from 15 Rugby League club foundations will take to the field at one of the best stadiums in the country. It’s a mouth-watering prospect for everybody involved and 2 October can’t come soon enough.
“Our relationship with the RFL has changed countless lives and transformed the opportunities that exist for many people, with disabilities, and the support we have had from RLWC2021 has been fantastic. What we offer is unique in world sport and is something the whole of Rugby League can be proud of.”
The festival gets underway at 10am with an Olympic-style opening ceremony, including a lap of the stadium by all participants. Players will wear the kits of the 20 nations competing in the main World Cup tournament, with games being played across six pitches until 3pm. Admission is free.
RFL National Inclusion Manager, Chris Godfrey, added: “This partnership and this event is Rugby League at its best. There will be certificates and medals for all participants, a ticket to a World Cup match and the legendary Robbie Hunter-Paul will be making a guest appearance. If you love Rugby League and you want to whet your appetite for the World Cup, Headingley is the place to be on Sunday 2 October.”
The draw for the festival was made by England Wheelchair Rugby League international James Simpson, alongside Community Integrated Care volunteers Jenny Robinson and Declan Jenkinson. A special video capturing the draw and explaining the rules of LDRL is available on RFL digital and social platforms.
The Rugby League World Cup kicks off at St James’s Park, Newcastle, on Saturday 15 October, when England men play Samoa. The Women’s competition begins at Headingley on Tuesday 1 November, with England versus Brazil, while Spain and Ireland play the opening match of the wheelchair competition at London’s Copperbox Arena on Thursday 3 November.
Four nations – Australia, England, New Zealand and Wales – will take part in the first ever Physical Disability Rugby League World Cup, with the final taking place at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium immediately after the men’s game between France and Samoa on 30 October.