Leicester Tigers Wheelchair Rugby squad have added another league title to their growing trophy cabinet with victory in the Wheelchair Rugby 5s Summer League.
The national tournament is in its second year and sees five players from each team take to the court rather than the Paralympic discipline of four.
Pipped by the Ospreys’ wheelchair rugby team to the Premiership title in 2018, Tigers went one better as they saw off their Welsh counterparts to take the spoils at Stoke Mandeville this time around.
Tigers player and club secretary David Needham shared his pride in the squad following the final whistle.
He said: “We were pipped into second place by Ospreys last year and that was a hard pill to swallow.
“Reversing the situation this season with virtually the same squad speaks volumes about their resilience and ability.
“I’m immensely proud of every player. They all worked hard and fully deserve this success.”
Final league standings from the 2019 WR5️⃣s Summer League Premiership! 🏆— GBWR (@GBWRNews) August 31, 2019
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Wheelchair Rugby 5s is based on the more conventional quad game but, being open to players with greater power and agility, is widely held as a more physical discipline.
With just two ‘out and out’ WR5s players in the Tigers squad, the title-winning side was largely made up of players who featured in last season’s Super Series success.
“As with any sport, success has a great deal more to do with technical approach and mental prowess, rather than physical strength,” Needham continued.
“Most of our squad have been around the game long enough for this to be second nature to them.
“On the odd occasion that we started to appear a little physically overwhelmed, we just chatted about our strengths, reset, composed ourselves and – with one exception – won all our games throughout the competition.
“I have got to add a thank you to all the support staff. Without them we would not have been able to achieve what we have, so I want to say a special thank you to Audrey, Neil and Hettie.”
Tigers lifted the trophy on the Saturday of finals weekend at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, following two previous weekends of heats.
Attention now turns back to the quad game, with Tigers entering a team in Super Series Division Three for the first time, while the first-team gun for a third successive Division One title.
Needham explained: “Because of a busy international period ahead of us, Division One doesn’t get going until January, but the club has grown so much in the last two years that we will be entering a second team into Division Three, starting in early October.
“There’s plenty going on, and we have a strong squad, so I’m expecting more good things from the coming season.”
Elsewhere, David, who has motor neurone disease, is making his final preparations to take on the Great North Run this Sunday, September 8 to raise money for The Matt Hampson Foundation.
David is no stranger to long distance challenges having completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in an all-terrain wheelchair as well as the Leicester 10k. You can donate to support David by visiting his JustGiving page here.
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