Tom Coyd praises “unbelievable” atmosphere following record crowd for wheelchair rugby league

Josh McAllister
Wheelchair Rugby League Tom Coyd

England head coach Tom Coyd praised an “unbelievable” crowd with a record-breaking 3,033 for the double-header opener of the wheelchair World Cup.

Spain and Italy kicked-off the tournament from the Copper Box Arena, London, before hosts England claimed a 38-8 victory over Australia.

The occasion also received high praise on social media, trending as high as fourth in the UK on Twitter during the event.

The men’s tournament heads into the quarter-finals this weekend, while the women’s World Cup began earlier this week.

It is the first time all three have occurred simultaneously in what is the fourth edition of the wheelchair World Cup. All of the wheelchair games are also set to be live on the BBC, with the final to take place the day before the men’s and women’s in Manchester.

Tom Coyd: The Copper Box is such a good place to play sport

“An amazing event,” head coach Coyd said.

“As a spectator I thought the atmosphere was unbelievable. The Copper Box is such a good place to play sport, we know that from the Olympics and the crowd really showed up. The boys felt that as well.”

Spain defeated Ireland 55-32 in the opening game before England got the chance to show their title credentials over the Wheelaroos. The action continues on Friday morning when current champions France take on Wales before Scotland face USA, who are featuring in the tournament for the first time.

England continue their campaign on Sunday against Spain, before facing Ireland in group A.

“It was an important win. It sets the tone and shows what England are about,” said player of the match Jack Brown.

“The crowd was incredible and we’ve never had anything like this. It is a dream come true.

“It’s something when I was 15-year-old kid playing this sport for the first time, I never imagined anything like this. It was just a push around but this is something really special.

“We said we wanted to come in and put on a good show for everyone. We really wanted to live up to the hype. I think we did that and the Aussies did a good job of matching that too.”

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