Rugby

Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup: Harry Brown ‘proud’ of brother Jack’s impact on the game

Harry Brown is one of the key figures in the GB men’s wheelchair basketball team
Event: manchester center Date: Friday, November 18 Weather: 19:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Live commentary on Sports Extra; Live text and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app

Great Britain wheelchair basketball star Harry Brown says he is proud of the impact his brother Jack made at the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.

The brothers helped England win the World Cup in 2008 before Harry focused on his basketball career.

Jack has been one of the stars on the journey from England to the final on fridaywhere they will face the current champion France.

“To see him continue and really do a sport that I no longer play, it makes me proud,” Harry told BBC Sport.

“He’s not doing it just to play with me. In fact, you can see that he really enjoys doing a sport that, yes, is in a wheelchair, but you you don’t have to be a wheelchair user to play.

“The fact that he’s doing it at such a high level and has been since he started playing, there’s no one that has touched it.”

Harry, now 28, had his legs amputated above the knee after contracting meningitis as a baby and started playing wheelchair basketball before Jack, four years his senior, dared to try it. .

But while wheelchair basketball doesn’t have a pathway for players without disabilities, wheelchair rugby league, which came to Britain in the mid-2000s, allows both disabled and non-disabled participants to play. together at all levels, giving the brothers the chance to represent united England internationally and be part of something special.

“I’ve been in a wheelchair since I was two years old, so Jack has always been in a wheelchair,” says Harry, who has won two Paralympic bronze medals as well as European and world titles and now plays professionally for Albacete, Spain.

“It was strange growing up because Jack could push a wheelchair better than he could run. In a way, wheelchair sport suited him better. Jack running with a rugby ball seems strange to watch.”

“He knows the ins and outs of how wheelchairs work and would fix my wheelchair from time to time.

“I think that removed the barrier, he wasn’t a non-disabled person getting into a wheelchair, he’s a wheelchair user even without being disabled.”

As well as being an England stalwart since his debut in 2005, Jack has also won the inaugural wheelchair rugby league international player of the year awards and was also shortlisted for this year’s Golden Boot honour, won by his England teammate. Seb Bechara.

He moved from the Halifax Panthers to Australia a couple of years ago and has been coaching the Queensland team, but returned to the England squad for this World Cup and has won two man of the match awards in all four of his team’s games.

His eight tries against Wales helped England set up a highly anticipated meeting with France, who have beaten England in the last two World Cup finals.

And Harry is delighted with the way the sport has captured the public’s imagination over the past two weeks.

“In 2008, when we won the World Cup, there was a guy with a camera phone who would greet us at the airport and that was the best we got,” he recalls.

“So seeing the coverage the sport is getting and all the views, people really come to watch.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever played a wheelchair rugby league match with more than 100 people watching. So to see a picture of more than 3,000 people watching the snooker games in the Copper Box, it was just huge.”

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