Nathan's home fixture shows Leeds is top of the league for sport: England 1

30 Oct 2023

Nathan's home fixture shows Leeds is top of the league for sport

Leisure and sport

A Leeds sportsman is set for an absolutely smashing weekend as wheelchair rugby league takes centre stage in his home city.

Nathan Collins was one of the stars of the England wheelchair side that gave the profile of their fast-moving and high-impact sport a huge boost in 2022 when they were crowned its world champions.

Now he and his team-mates are preparing to lock horns once again with France, the side they beat in the final of the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.

And the match promises to be an extra-special occasion for proud Leeds lad Nathan, as it is taking place on his home ‘turf’.

The fixture will be played at Leeds’s first direct arena this Sunday, November 5, with local fans expected to turn out in force to cheer England on.

The game forms part of a packed Leeds weekend of rugby league that will also see the England men’s and women’s teams in action at Headingley Stadium this Saturday.

The triple-header follows the city’s successful staging of several matches at last year’s Rugby League World Cup as well as its recent hosting of other major sporting events such as the AJ Bell World Triathlon Championship Series and the Westfield Health British Transplant Games.

Nathan, who lives in Swillington and works for Leeds City Council, said: “Representing my country and playing in my home city makes me very proud.

“I can't wait to be part of a fantastic team showcasing our great game in this amazing venue.

“It is going to be very special – about a hundred of my family and friends have bought tickets!

“If we can replicate the atmosphere of a Headingley crowd in the arena it will give us the extra man against France.”

Wheelchair rugby league is a famously uncompromising and hard-fought game, with its mix of high-speed collisions and silky skills making it a thrilling spectacle for watching fans.

It is also much admired for its inclusivity, as teams can field both disabled and non-disabled players.

Nathan, now 22, took up the sport at the age of 10 and has been a long-time mainstay of the Leeds Rhinos wheelchair side.

He combines his rugby exploits with his job as a lifeguard and swimming teacher at council leisure centres in Kippax and Rothwell.

A talented try-scorer and goal-kicker, Nathan is full of praise for the support he receives from his colleagues, saying: “The number of messages I got after winning the World Cup nearly broke my phone!”

Looking ahead to the match in Leeds, he added: “If you like rugby league you will love wheelchair rugby league – it’s high speed, high impact and highly skilful. It’s also best seen – and heard – live.

“This is a rematch that nobody wants to lose, and hopefully it will introduce our game to more people that will want to follow it in the future.

“We want to inspire people to come along and play and volunteer and grow the game even more.”

Three Rhinos wheelchair players – Nathan, Tom Halliwell and Josh Butler – were picked for England’s training squad ahead of this Sunday’s fixture.

Click here for information about tickets for the match, which gets under way at 3.15pm.

This Saturday’s games at Headingley, meanwhile, will see England Women taking on Wales (kick-off midday) and England Men facing Tonga (kick-off 2.30pm). Ticket details for these fixtures can be found here.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for education, culture and economy, said:

“Leeds has a well-deserved reputation as a top sporting city, with the major competitions and matches that have been staged here in recent times delivering an important boost to both our profile and our economy.

“The forthcoming weekend of rugby league promises to be another fine advert for the city and its ability to host innovative and inclusive large-scale events.

“It will also be great to see Nathan flying the flag for Leeds at the arena – everyone at the council wishes him all the very best for the game.”


For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team