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Saints Wheelchair Rugby ready to rumble ahead of WR5s kick-off

With the side gearing up for their return to the WR5s Premiership, head coach Jamie Higgins insists Saints Wheelchair Rugby have not been resting on their laurels over the off-season. 

Winning an incredible 11 out of 12 matches last season to bounce back into the Premiership at the first time of asking, Saints Wheelchair Rugby are just weeks away from opening the new season at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. 

Locking horns with Stoke Mandeville Maulers, Ospreys, West Country Hawks and local rivals Leicester Tigers across the campaign, Higgins and his side will kick-off their Premiership season on Sunday 19 June.

While the Premiership preparations are well underway, Higgins’ team have not eased off in-between seasons; Saints Wheelchair Rugby have become a founder member of a brand-new Midlands Development League, recently playing the first round of clashes back in April. 

The new league – which sees Saints, Leicester, Norfolk Knights and Coventry Stampede compete in four round-robin tournaments – kicked-off in Norfolk last month and Higgins was pleased with Saints’ efforts despite a mixed run of form in their initial matches. 

“We started off the season with a mixed bag,” said Higgins. “But I don’t think those results were indicative of what the team is capable of. 

“A sizeable number of new players have joined us over the off-season and our team featured some players that had just weeks of experience in the sport at the time, so to only suffer one two-point loss was a real achievement for them.”

Jamie Higgins, Saints Wheelchair Rugby head coach

“Unfortunately, Leicester were unable to make the tournament and so we ended the opening day with both a win against Norfolk and a defeat to Coventry, but that gives us plenty to work with going forwards.

“Given it was our first outing of the term, I was really pleased with how the whole team performed, but especially our new recruits who showed real promise alongside their more experienced teammates.”

Now, though, Saints’ attentions turn to the first outing of the WR5s Premiership competition and, with reigning champions Tigers amongst the opposition, Higgins is under no illusions about the challenges his side will face on their return to the top flight. 

He added: “We’ve drawn a tough group with four very strong teams but I know the team are up for the challenge. We always want to be competitive while we grow the game and bring as many new players as possible to the highest level we can. 

“Our development stretches right across the Club, with growth continuing in our Junior branch too. Our younger side have had some brilliant results, and actually went unbeaten in their Return to Play festival last September. 

“But, for me, our aim must be to make an impact in the sport of Wheelchair Rugby and keep driving our players to be the best they can be. I’m confident the team will keep going from strength to strength this season.”

For more information on Saints Wheelchair Rugby or to find out how to get involved as well as information on our school engagment, CLICK HERE or email [email protected].

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