Rugby girl to play for England
ALAW student is set to achieve sporting glory after being selected to represent England in the Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup.
Jodie Boyd-Ward, 24, has been playing wheelchair rugby league since 2009, starting out with Wolverhampton Rhinos.
After developing mobility problems from the age of 11, Jodie was diagnosed with severe arthritis in her spine and nerve damage on the left hand side of her body, resulting in her need to use a wheelchair to play sport.
After moving to Manchester to attend university, Jodie’s wheelchair rugby career led her to play for Leeds Rhinos, who took on Medway Dragons in a WhRL Premier League match at the end of April.
In addition to her sporting career, Jodie is currently studying law at Manchester Metropolitan University.
She also works in the Click and Collect team at Asda Middleton and counts her colleagues among some of her biggest supporters.
Jodie, 24, said: “I was brought up on rugby league from a young age as my family are fans of the sport - it was the natural sport for me to have a go at after I was unable to continue with netball and dance due to my condition.
“Everyone at Asda has been brilliant and really supportive of me and my rugby career – particularly my section leader Claire and Paul, our store manager, who has very kindly let me have the time off to play.
“I try not to let my conditions affect me massively; I shouldn’t be able to do as much as I can, but I’m stubborn and determined to prove people wrong.”
Asda Middleton general store manager, Paul Garnett, said; “To play at the sort of level Jodie does is a real achievement and everyone here is really proud of her.
“I’m a rugby fan and support Halifax so we often have a chat about the sport. So many people here take an interest in Jodie and her matches – it’s great.”
The third Wheelchair Rugby League World Cup takes place this July.
The emerging sport was first developed in 2004.
The team will be looking to regain the title, after they won the inaugural World Cup after beating Australia 44-12 in 2008.
They were also narrowly beaten to the title 44-40 by France in 2013.
Jodie Boyd-Ward in action