Learning Disability Rugby League (LDRL) returns this weekend when more than 200 players – double the number of participants when LDRL was last played in 2019 – will take to the field at 13 locations across the north of England.
LDRL will have a record 13 teams taking part in 2021 and this weekend each one of them will host intra-club skills sessions and games as part of a phased return towards the resumption of the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League.
The teams will stagger start times and synchronise activities to create a ‘virtual festival’ of LDRL. The clubs taking part are: Castleford Tigers; Featherstone Rovers; Hull FC; Hull Kingston Rovers; Leeds Rhinos; Newcastle Thunder; St Helens; Salford Red Devils; Wakefield Trinity; Warrington Wolves; Widnes Vikings; Wigan Warriors and York City Knights.
For Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s LD Super League players, it will be the first time they have been able to step on the pitch and play together in almost 16 months when they finally return to training on Friday at Leeds Rugby Academy, Kirkstall.
RFL Social and Inclusion Manager, Chris Godfrey, says: “We’ve had the return of Wheelchair and PDRL, now it’s the return of Learning Disability Rugby League – the last piece in the jigsaw. The clubs have worked overtime, the players can’t wait to go and there’s a tremendous sense of anticipation among everybody involved in LDRL.
“The learning disability community is acknowledged to be the most vulnerable to Covid-19 and as such people with learning disabilities are returning to play with the greatest caution. Sunday’s restart follows an extended period of remote activity, and this virtual festival approach allows teams to minimise risk and maximise enjoyment under the LDSL banner.”
All players registered for the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League players have been given access to an RLWC2021 Skills Journal to be delivered remotely by their clubs. The journal focuses on 32 skills – one for each team competing at the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair world cups – and the resources shared with a record 220 registered LDSL players.
LDRL organisers are also in the process of organising a series of regional events building towards October’s LDRL World Cup festival.