Leeds Beckett players secure qualification for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup
27 November 2018
Beckett students and alumni from England, Jamaica and Wales could feature in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Three current Beckett students and several former students guided their nations to qualification for the international rugby league tournament.
Wales sealed their qualification for the tournament with a 40-8 win over a strong Ireland side with Beckett students Connor Davies, Curtis Davies and Sion Jones featuring for Wales.
🧢 CAPS | #WalesRL 🏴 team manager @BobsRugbyLeague handed out caps to @curtdavies71, @ConnorRDavies1, @olds_james, @Buttayy, @ElliottJenkins9 and Sion Jones last night!— Wales Rugby League 🏴 (@WalesRugbyL) November 12, 2018
All six players made their debuts during the European Championship and @RLWC2021 qualifiers! 👏
The trio earned their first international caps in the tournament, with all three players representing their country in their opening round loss to France. Twins, Connor and Curtis, retained their place throughout the rest of the tournament and helped the nation defeat Scotland and Ireland on their way to qualification.
Leeds Beckett University rugby league coach Paul Fletcher said “It was a great achievement for our Welsh lads who were involved in the squad. For us to have three players currently playing for us, and represent their nation at the highest level, is amazing and a real testament to their hard work and dedication.”
Paul also mentioned Welsh Academy coach Mark Jones, for his help and guidance in providing Welsh players a pathway to elite sport with Leeds Beckett.
Paul said "I've got to give credit to Mark Jones, he was my assistant coach on the South Africa tour (for GB students), we spoke in depth about giving Welsh players an opportunity to study and progress outside of Wales,
"A few years on from those conversations we've since had over nine players involved in our programme and I have to credit the fantastic set-up from Mark and the Welsh team, they continue to develop great young athletes with a great attitude and commitment."
Wales’ victory over Ireland capped off an incredible year for all three players, who were integral to Beckett’s undefeated league run last season and played a vital role to helping their professional club, Halifax to the Super League Qualifiers.
Fellow Halifax player, and Beckett alumnus, James Woodburn-Hall was one of many former students that represented underdogs Jamaica, who earned their first ever World Cup qualification.
The ‘Reggae Warriors’ fielded a strong team that featured former students Jy-Mel Coleman, Keenan Tomlinson and Leeds Rhinos full back Ashton Golding with alumnus Jermaine Coleman serving as the nation’s assistant coach.
Jamaica’s incredible story dubbed ‘cool scrummings’ by the media, in reference to the unlikely story of Jamaica’s famous bobsled team from the 1990 Winter Olympics, saw them defeat USA 16-10 in the States.
Leeds Beckett University rugby league coach, Paul Fletcher said “It’s fantastic to see a new and exciting team like Jamaica get through to the tournament and give the international game a new flavour and boost.
“It was also great to see the team include the likes of Jy-Mel, James, Keenan and their coach Jermaine, who all came through our system at Beckett, and played a big part in the story.”
The former students could follow in the footsteps of fellow alumnus, St Helens and England star Alex Walmsley who represented England in the 2017 World Cup
Leeds Beckett’s players will experience more international rugby this year as they host the Australian Schoolboys in late November ahead of the Australians’ test series against England Students.
Beckett are looking to further their international relationships and profile after a stellar year which saw them defeat New Zealand Students 29-0 in June and their player’s success on the international stage could be a sign of more things to come from the team.
Congratulations to all of the Beckett players who represented their nations in the Americas and European Championships.