How is Wheelchair Rugby League played?

Wheelchair Rugby League (WhRL) was first developed in 2000 by French Rugby League players Robert Fassolette and Wally Salvan. It was thought of as an open activity for males and females of all ages, with and without disabilities, from the very start. Truly a Rugby game for all!


The sport of Wheelchair Rugby League (WhRL) closely mirrors the rules of the ‘running game’ of Rugby League; albeit without scrums, tackling or traditional play-the-balls. Teams are made up of 10 players, with 5 on the court at any given time and 2 able-bodied players are allowed per team.

WhRL is played with a size-4 football. Like running Rugby League, the ball may only be passed backwards.


A try (aka 'touchdown') is scored by grounding the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area or on the goal-line.
Conversions, penalty goals and drop goals can be ‘kicked’ by punching the ball over the posts using the fist (in a manner similar to an Australian Rules Football hand pass).

In the case of conversions, players are able to use an authorised ‘kicking’ tee.


All players wear Velcro shoulder Flags. Defenders must remove a Flag on the ball carrier to constitute a ‘tackle’ (aka 'down' like Flag Football). As in the running game, teams get 6 tackles per set.
To restart play after a tackle, a modified version of the play-the-ball is used.
Other than these alterations, the objective of the game is entirely the same as 13-a-side running Rugby League.

There is incredible skill, smarts, resilience, toughness and tactics involved in the sport.

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