Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s LDRL team prepare to make Anfield debut at Dacia Magic Weekend

The 2019 Dacia Magic Weekend will be a special occasion for Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Learning Disability Rugby League (LDRL) team, who will make their first appearance alongside nine other clubs at Anfield when the Learning Disability Super League officially launches.

This year’s annual event, which brings all Betfred Super League teams together to play in a festival format, will also be a wider celebration of the game thanks to the partnership between Community Integrated Care and Super League. Earlier this year the national social care charity became the Official Social Care partner of the Betfred Super League, which led to the creation of the pioneering ‘Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League.’

During the Sunday of Magic Weekend, nearby Stanley Park will be taken over by players from Learning Disability sides, whilst the Foundation’s Physical Disability team will also play during half-time of the Betfred Super League match between Hull FC and Huddersfield Giants on Saturday.

Learning Disability Rugby League is a specially adapted non-competitive game, using tags, which focuses on encouraging participation and skills development

Since March, Leeds Rhinos Foundation has been running training sessions at Leeds Rugby Academy in Kirkstall for people interested in playing for the side and this weekend they will get the opportunity to pull on the famous blue and amber jersey and run out at one of the world’s most famous stadiums.

Last week, the side received a special visit from Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan, with the England international enjoying the chance to meet the players and take them through a series of fun rugby drills and games.

The formation of the Learning Disability team follows on from the success of the Physical Disability side who played their first game in 2018, and is part of charity’s commitment to making rugby league accessible for all and helping to create unforgettable memories.

Ben Berry, Team Manager of Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s LDRL team, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our LDRL and PDRL sides to experience playing at one of the world’s most famous stadiums in front of thousands of rugby league fans.

“We’ve all had a fantastic time, and everybody feels extremely privileged to be able to represent Leeds Rhinos in the first LDRL festival at an event the size of Magic Weekend.”

“It would be great if any Rhinos fans, or fans from across the country could come along and cheer on our guys during this year’s Dacia Magic Weekend.”

The Clarke brothers Adam and Bradley have grown up with rugby league, with the latter playing open age for Farnley Falcons. Both ardent Rhinos supporters, Adam has been a permanent fixture around his brother’s teams without ever being able to play himself – until now.

Bradley explained: “Me and my brother have been brought up around rugby league, it’s in our blood and we’re dedicated Leeds Rhinos supporters. Since the day that we heard they were launching this team I thought it wold be a good chance for him to get involved.

“For him to be selected for Leeds Rhinos and representing the club is like a dream come true.”

Leeds Rhinos Foundation also works in partnership with Community Integrated Care to deliver a range of programmes that promote the health, happiness and wellbeing of people supported by Community Integrated Care, who have learning disabilities, autism and mental health concerns.

For more information about our PDRL and LDRL teams, email ben.berry@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.