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Australian wheelchair coach Brett Clark has welcomed the release of the draw for next year’s World Cup in England.

The eight-team Wheelchair World Cup will be played alongside the men’s and women’s tournaments, culminating in all three finals being staged in Manchester on November 18 and 19.

The Wheelaroos will be based in London for their pool matches at the Copper Box Arena on:

  • November 3 v England
  • November 6 v Norway
  • November 9 v Spain

The semi-finals will be played at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on November 13, with the final at the 5,000 seat Manchester Central on November 18 after being shifted from Liverpool.

Cory Cannane and his dad Craig proudly display their Wheelaroos jerseys.
Cory Cannane and his dad Craig proudly display their Wheelaroos jerseys.

The change to the draw, due to the postponement of the World Cup from this year, means the wheelchair final will be played the night before the men’s and women’s deciders at Old Trafford on November 19.

Clark said the Wheelaroos were excited to be taking part in the World Cup and would now step up preparations for the tournament.

“It goes without saying that the last years have been difficult but with the great news that the Rugby League World Cup has been locked in for November 2022 I am excited that wheelchair rugby league will be showcased alongside the men’s and women’s running game,” Clark said.

“Our Wheelaroos squad is currently in preparation to be part of this milestone event. I am pumped, the team is pumped, we are coming England, bring it on.”

France will go into the tournament as favourites after the 2017 World Cup winners triumphed in their recent two Test series against England in Kent.

However, England captain Tom Halliwell believes the additional 12 months preparation due to the postponement of the World Cup caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will help other nations to close the gap with France.

"It gives us more time to be able to prepare and more time to be able to build this tournament to be the best in the world," Halliwell said.

"We have a young squad and to get that World Cup lifted we have to become better people and become better players. That 12 months gives us an opportunity to be able to do that.

"To have the final in Manchester brings sort of a family unity to the tournament, which is what rugby league is all about.

"To be here with the men's and women's, it's like a whole England family and ikf all three teams get to the final it will be an amazing experience."

Tickets can be purchased via www.rlwc2021.com/tickets

England captains John Bateman, Tom Halliwell and Amy Hardcastle with the World Cup trophies.
England captains John Bateman, Tom Halliwell and Amy Hardcastle with the World Cup trophies. ©RLWC2021

Wheelchair draw

Group A
Nov 3: Spain v Norway at Copper Box Arena, London
Nov 3: England v Australia at Copper Box Arena, London
Nov 6: England v Spain at Copper Box Arena, London
Nov 6: Australia v Norway at Copper Box Arena, London
Nov 9: Australia v Spain at Copper Box Arena, London
Nov 9: England v Norway at Copper Box Arena, London

Group B
Nov 4: France v Wales at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Nov 4: Scotland v USA at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Nov 7: France v Scotland at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Nov 7: Wales v USA at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Nov 10: France v USA at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Nov 10: Wales v Scotland at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield

Nov 13: Semi-Final 1 (Winner B v RU A) at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Nov 13: Semi-Final 2 (Winner A v RU B) at English Institute of Sport, Sheffield

Nov 18: Final at Manchester Central, Manchester