Wheelchair rugby ‘natural’ Kate scores conversion in front of World Cup winners

The Princess of Wales was dubbed a wheelchair rugby natural after scoring a tricky conversion in front of England’s World Cup winners.

Kate raised her arms in celebration and laughed after she punted the ball over the bar – a tricky feat for a novice – said Tom Coyd, coach of England’s World Cup-winning wheelchair Rugby League team.

Mr Coyd, added: “I think she’s been having secret practice sessions before coming here, because she’s a natural. She even finished a passing move with a try in the corner – she blew me away to be honest.”

Princess of Wales playing wheelchair rugby
The princess was described as a ‘natural’ (Scott Heppell/PA)

After revealing a few weeks ago she had hurt two fingers on her right hand in a trampoline accident, she again wore strapping on the digits as a precaution during the busy training session.

The future Queen, patron of the Rugby Football League, smiled, joked and introduced herself to many of her teammates during the practice period with Hull FC players and some members of the World Cup winning squad after being given a quick course in handling a wheelchair.

But the pressure moment came when she had to hit the ball over the bar after watching England player Tom Halliwell expertly punt it between the posts.

Kate wheeled herself towards the ball, balanced on a short post, and punched it over to a round of applause and cheers from the watching internationals and club players.

Princess of Wales
Kate chatting to her teammates (Scott Heppell/PA)

Mr Coyd, 28, said after the visit: “It’s an amazing spectator sport, it covers all bases really, you’ve got the inclusivity, it’s the only sport in the world where at the top level you can have disabled and non-disabled players playing together.

“And Kate herself said the collisions that came through the TV, when they were watching it, was what hooked the kids in.”

Despite the dramatic crashes, which can send players flying from their chairs, the England coach said the wheelchairs protect the competitors “even today Kate got crashed into and came out with no bumps and bruises”.

The day was hosted by Rugby Football League, Hull FC and the University of Hull and staged at the university’s Allam Sport Centre.

The Princess of Wales playing wheelchair rugby
Kate held her nerve when it came to the crucial moment (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Kate chatted to the players and even joined some passing drills with members of the learning disability squad and spent time chatting to the competitors.

Before leaving she was presented with England wheelchair Rugby League jerseys for her three children and posed for a picture with some of the national squad.

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