England make coaching change ahead of Wheelchair World Cup


England Wheelchair have appointed Tom Coyd as the head of a new coaching structure for next year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Coyd, a 24-year-old from the Medway Dragons club in Kent who coaches with the Argonauts Wheelchair team, will be assisted by Wayne Boardman of Halifax, an established member of the playing squad, and also Martyn Rothwell of Sheffield Hallam University. Martyn is the former coach of Loughborough University and worked for the RFL for many years in developing the sport.

They will be given specific coaching support by two members of the England Performance Unit – Stuart Barrow, who is a highly regarded Coach Developer, and Professor Ben Jones, the EPU’s Head of Performance.

Coyd’s appointment is a proud moment for his father Martin Coyd OBE, the General Manager of England Wheelchair Rugby League who has been the driving force behind its development – while his younger brother Joe is a member of the England playing squad.

Tom Coyd said: “It’s hard to express how honoured I feel in being appointed as Head Coach of the England Wheelchair Rugby League team.

“To be able to represent my country in a sport I am so proud to be a part of is a privilege. I am now in my third year with this group and we are poised on the edge of something special.

“The players and our staff are a wonderful group of driven people, and I take great pleasure in working with them. This World Cup has come at the perfect time for us, as the strength of the sport in England is increasing exponentially with fantastic support from the RFL and the EPU.

“I’m not sure how many people can say they get this opportunity alongside their father and brother, and I am determined to squeeze every last drop out of it. I can’t wait to see our country get behind us – we will do all we can to make them proud.”

Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Chief On-Field Officer, said: This is the most important and exciting period for Wheelchair Rugby League as we prepare to host the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup in 2021.

“England Wheelchair had a busy year in 2019 with tours to France and Australia and while their results were very encouraging, the tours also provided the opportunity for a thorough assessment of our coaching structure.

“That has led to the decision to reshape the team with the appointment of Tom Coyd as head coach. Tom has been an assistant coach since the beginning of 2018 and is highly regarded by the players, and impressed everyone with his work in France and Australia. This has been underlined with excellent leadership and innovation during the current period of restriction.

“Wayne Boardman has been a key member of the team for several years and given his considerable experience as a wheelchair athlete, has been appointed to assist Tom. Martyn Rothwell completes the coaching team, bringing huge experience and knowhow, with further support from Ben Jones and Stuart Barrow, who has focused increasingly on the England Wheelchair and Women programmes in his role with the Performance Unit.

“The RFL would like to thank Mark Roughsedge for his work with the England Wheelchair programme over recent years, and we wish him luck in his new appointment with Scotland.”

England Wheelchair are still in the process of reshaping their plans for 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Plans to host a return Ashes series this autumn have been shelved, but the players have been following individual training schedules devised by the EPU through the lockdown period, and plans will now be accelerated for squad sessions following the easing of restrictions around indoor sport announced by the Government last week.

Confirmation of the new coaching structure comes a week before the announcement next Tuesday (July 21) of the full schedule for all three Rugby League World Cups which will be held in England in 2021.

England have already been confirmed to face Australia in the opening match of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup at the Copperbox in London on November 11, and are awaiting details of their remaining group fixtures against Spain and Norway – details here https://www.rlwc2021.com/the-tournament/wheelchair