Top Rugby Players With Disabilities

Top 7 Rugby Players with Disabilities

13 min

Similar to other games you may be familiar with, like netball, coed softball, and quidditch, wheelchair rugby is a mixed-gender team sport.

This article helps you know more about the top rugby players with disabilities, New Zealand’s Wheel Blacks team and their achievements, this game’s rules, and more.

Let’s get familiar with it!

World’s Wheelchair Rugby Rankings

Ranking Player Age Country Team Paralympic Rugby Games
#1 Ryley Batt 33 Australia Steelers 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, 2016 Rio, 2020 Tokyo
#2 Cameron Leslie 32 New Zealand Wheel Blacks 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020 Summer Paralympics
#3 Maia Amai-Marshall 34 New Zealand Wheel Blacks 2020 Tokyo
#4 Daisuke Ikezaki 44 Japan Hokkaido Big Dippers 2012 London, 2016 Rio, 2020 Tokyo
#5 Kylie Grimes 34 Great Britain Coventry Godiva Harriers: England 2012 London, 2016 Rio, 2020 Tokyo
#6 Peter Genyn 45 Belgium Belgium W 2004 Athens, 2012 London, 2016 Rio, 2020 Tokyo
#7 Aaron Phipps 39 Great Britain Coventry Godiva Harriers: England 2012 London, 2020 Tokyo

What is Wheelchair Rugby?

Popularly known as murderball, this is a game for the disabled with physical talents and mental strength. Just as impressive as the richest Rugby players who practice the original version of this game, wheelchair Rugby players has brought fame and pride to their home country through numerous victories and the sheer strength of always giving their best without mistake during every match.

It’s a para-sport item in major international and regional events, including World Championships, Paralympic Games, Paralympics New Zealand, and Parapan American Games.

What about the gameplay?

Each team has 12 players, with four players on the court at a time.

It uses the basketball court in which players of one team need to cross the goal line of the opposite team by carrying the ball to score.


Our writers and researchers specialize in online casinos New Zealand and gambling-related subjects. And, considering the changing nature of sports, the data here may be incomplete depending on the date you’re reading this article or human error. However, we employed our research expertise to uncover the elements we found to be most essential on this subject.

1. Ryley Batt

Ryley Batt

Ryley Batt is a man of extraordinary talent born without two legs and hand limb deficiency in New South Wales, Australia.

He doesn’t hesitate to show courage to defeat his disabilities, which makes him an inevitable member of Steelers, Australia’s national wheelchair rugby team.

Fun Fact

He also starred in a Netflix documentary ‘Rising Phoenix’ released in 2020, along with eight other para-athletes.

Ryley’s Game Achievements

Batt participated in five Paralympic Games and bagged three medals, including two gold (2012 London Games and 2016 Rio Games) and one silver (2008 Beijing Games).

He started his journey as a professional rugby player when he joined the Steelers in 2002.

He participated in his first Paralympic Games (2004 Athens Games) at 15, as a part of the Steelers. He was the youngest paralympic rugby player in the world.

The Paralympic Games and World Championships Batt Participated in

  • Athens Paralympic Games 2004
  • Beijing Paralympic Games 2008
  • London Paralympic Games 2012
  • Rio Paralympic Games 2016
  • Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020
  • World Championships (2010, 2014, and 2018)

Ryley Batt’s Overall Scores

First Rugby Match 2004 Athens Games
World Championships Three
Number of Medals Six
Other Paralympic Sports Nil
Coach Brad Dubberley

2. Cameron Leslie

Cameron Leslie

Cameron Leslie, popularly known as Camo, is a world champion athlete born with quadruple limb deficiency in Whangarei, New Zealand.

He represented Wheel Blacks, New Zealand’s national team, in three World Championships.

Fun Fact

Apart from wheelchair rugby, he is a professional para-swimmer. He started his para-swimming training at the age of 11.

Cameron’s Great Events

Camo was a part of the Wheel Blacks when they bagged a bronze medal at IWRF’s Asia-Oceania Championship 2019.

It was also a qualifying championship for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

But unfortunately, he had to withdraw from the Wheel Blacks as he was expecting the birth of his second child soon before the Paralympic Games.

A strong contender

The 32-year-old Leslie was also a world record holder and the gold medalist in the men’s 150 m individual medley in three consecutive Paralympic Games. They were held in the 2008 Beijing Games, 2012 London Games, and 2016 Rio Games.

Cameron Leslie’s Performances

First Rugby Match World Championship 2010
World Championships Three
Number of Medals One
Other Paralympic Sports Para-swimming
Coach Greg Mitchell

3. Maia Amai-Marshall

Maia Amai-Marshall

Maia Marshall-Amai is the only feminine and brutal face of the Wheel Blacks.

She doesn’t hesitate to give hard hits and plays an important role in the New Zealand wheelchair rugby team.

Hard hits don’t intimidate her

Being one of the toughest female rugby players, the physical part of this game attracts her most. She likes to be treated like other male teammates as she loves hard hits.

Maia’s Moments to Shine

Maia became a part of the Wheel Blacks after a team member noticed her practicing Wheelchair basketball.

She was selected to Wheel Blacks to compete in the 2013 Asia-Oceania Championship and won the third position.

Maia was a New Zealand wheelchair rugby team member when they participated in the 2018 World Championship and finished in the 11th position. In 2017, she also participated in the Women’s Wheelchair Rugby World Tournament.

Maia Amai-Marshall’s Achievements

First Rugby Match Asia-Oceania Championship 2013
World Championships One
Number of Medals One
Other Paralympic Sports Wheelchair Basketball
Coach Greg Mitchell

4. Daisuke Ikezaki

Daisuke Ikezaki

Daisuke Ikezaki, a 44-year-old wheelchair rugby player from Japan, proves that age is not a constraint for veteran players.

He chooses this game due to his impairment, Charcot Marie Tooth, a hereditary disease that affects the nervous system.

Ikezaki joined the Japanese national team in 2009, intending to achieve a paralympic medal.

Daisuke’s Road to Success

Ikezaki’s team bagged bronze medals in the two consecutive Para Games (2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo), one gold in the 2018 World Championship, and bronze in the 2010 World Championship.

His team also secured several medals in different tournaments.


Ikezaki is a 3.0 player. Therefore, he controls the ball most of the time throughout the game. His combination with Yukinobu Ike is also the most challenging for the opposing teams.

He was awarded MVP (Most Valuable Player) two times.

Participation in the Paralympic Games, World Championships, and other tournaments:

  • 2012 London Paralympic Games
  • 2016 Rio Paralympic Games
  • 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games
  • World Championships held in 2010, 2014, and 2018
  • IWRF Asia-Oceania Championships in 2011, 2015, and 2017
  • WWR Challenge in 2019

Daisuke Ikezaki’s Tally

First Rugby Match IWRF World Championship 2010
World Championships Three
Number of Medals Eight
Other Paralympic Sports Wheelchair Basketball
Coach Kevin Orr

5. Kylie Grimes

Kylie Grimes

As the most ambitious female para-athlete from Great Britain, Kylie Grimes was one of the two women who participated in wheelchair rugby at the 2012 London Paralympics.

She became a member of the GB team when they won a gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Kylie Knows What She Wants

She didn’t expect extra care from her teammates, as she said, “When I am playing with the boys on the court, we are just team players. They don’t treat me any differently, they don’t go any easier on me.”

A mentally strong player

Her impairment (spinal injury) was acquired in a diving accident, and her positivity brought her to the London Wheelchair Rugby Club.

Kylie Grimes’ Outcomes

First Rugby Match 2012 London Games
World Championships Nil
Number of Medals Two
Other Paralympic Sports Club Throw
Coach Paul Shaw

6. Peter Genyn

Peter Genyn

The 46-year-old Peter Genyn turned to paralympic sports after a neck injury in 1990 while jumping into a pond.

He started his rugby journey in 1993 and was a member of the Belgium team at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.

Peter’s Accomplishments

Genyn took part in two IWRF World Championships held in 2006 and 2010.

He was also a part of the Belgium team when they became one of the finalists in the 2009 IWRF European Championship.

He bagged several gold and silver medals in various Paralympic Games and World Championships for 100 and 400meters sprints.

Peter Genyn’s Details

First Rugby Match 2012 London Games
World Championships Two
Number of Medals One
Other Paralympic Sports Paralympic Athletics
Coach Nil

7. Aaron Phipps

Aaron Phipps

Aaron Phipps is a gold medal-winning Paralympian athlete. He became disabled at 16 due to an illness called Meningitis C, which damaged both legs.

He began playing professional para-sports in 2007 and represented GB in the 2012 London Games and 2020 Tokyo Games, where they won a gold medal.

Climbing expert

Phipps is the first Paralympian who climbed Kilimanjaro on his hands and knees.

Aaron Phipps’ Wins

First Rugby Match European Championship 2009
World Championships One
Number of Medals One
Other Paralympic Sports Wheelchair Races
Coach Paul Shaw

New Zealand’s Wheel Blacks Team

New Zealand’s wheelchair rugby team, popularly known as Wheel Blacks, is a team of disabled talents with intense physical and mental determination. Just like the top New Zealand rugby players, their force and speed are awe inducing.

New Zealand also formed a physical disability rugby league team to participate in physical disability rugby league competitions, where athletes with various physical disabilities can participate.

Wheel Blacks secured their first gold medal at the 2004 Athens Games and a bronze in the 2020 Tokyo Games. They also took part in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

Wheel Blacks’ Rankings

The Wheel Blacks are a very respected team in New Zealand, so their accomplishments are enthusiastically celebrated.

Let’s see what their accomplishments are overall!

Paralympic Games

  • 2004 Athens Paralympic Games (wins gold medal)
  • 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games (wins bronze medal)
  • 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games (wins bronze medal)

World Championships

  • 1998 World Championship (wins silver medal)
  • 2006 World Championship (wins silver medal)
  • 1995 World Championship (wins bronze medal)

IWRF Asia-Oceania Championships

  • 2005 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (gold medal)
  • 2001 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (silver medal)
  • 2003 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (silver medal)
  • 2009 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (silver medal)
  • 2007 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (bronze medal)
  • 2011 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (bronze medal)
  • 2013 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (bronze medal)
  • 2015 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (bronze medal)
  • 2017 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (bronze medal)
  • 2019 IWRF Asia-Oceania Championship (bronze medal)

Wheelchair Rugby Rules

This game’s rules are a combination between wheelchair basketball, handball, and ice hockey. The basic rules include:

  • This is an inclusive sport contested by two teams. Each team consists of 12 players, but only four are on the court simultaneously.
  • To score the point, the player must carry the ball across the opposite team’s goal line, and a minimum of two wheels should cross the goal line.
  • The functional ability of players is depicted with numbers ranging from 0.5 (least functional ability) to 3.5 (highest functional ability), and a team’s total score should not exceed 8.0.
  • The game consists of four quarters of eight minutes, and there should be a two-minute break after the first and third quarters and a five-minute break at the half.
  • The player must dribble or pass the ball every 10 seconds.
  • Physical body contact of players is not allowed.

Non-Disabled and Wheelchair Rugby Rules

Non-disabled Rugby Wheelchair Rugby
Use oval-shaped ball Use round-shaped ball
Each team consists of 15 players Each team consists of 4 players
H-shaped goal posts on both side Goal line on both sides
Dropping the ball means penalty Dribbling is a part of the game
Physical tackling is part of the game Tackling means removing a tag off the shoulders of your opponent

Dribbling in Wheelchair Rugby

Dribbling is allowed, as it’s formed on the basic rule of wheelchair basketball. A player must dribble the ball every 10 seconds.

Therefore, every player dribbles the ball frequently.

Is It A Mixed Gender Sport?

This is one of the few mixed-gender sports like netball and quidditch.

Want to learn more about Netball in New Zealand?

Our team of experts has taken a special interest in delivering informative pages on multiple mixed-gender sports. If it is something you are passionate about, you can check out our blog entries on the NZ Netball team and the NZ UFC fighters and gain further insight into the fascinating world designed by the athletes of this country.

Maia Amai-Marshall from New Zealand and Kylie Grimes from Great Britain are the toughest women wheelchair rugby players.

You can show your support to these teams by betting on sites like the top online casinos in New Zealand.

Tell us your opinion

You can use the comments section to let us know if we’ve missed out any important details about your favourite players!


Who is the top-rated wheelchair rugby player?

Ryley Batt is the best wheelchair rugby player. He has been in the sport for 12 years.

Why is wheelchair rugby called murderball?

Yes. Wheelchair rugby is also referred to as murderball due to its aggressive nature. The collision between wheelchairs is an unavoidable part of the game.

How many people are in a wheelchair rugby team?

There would be 12 players on each team, but only four players on the court at a time from each team.

Can a non-disabled person play wheelchair rugby?

Yes, non-disabled persons are allowed to play wheelchair rugby.

How many rugby players in NZ are there?

New Zealand has 141 726 registered players in total.

Ioana Nutulescu
AuthorIoana NutulescuAuthor & Editor at CasinoAlpha

Using her Comparative Literature MA, Ioana’s casino and game reviews, player guides and pages cater to the different culture-related needs, preferences, and psychology of gamblers around the world. Focused on aesthetic & psychology, she advocates for satisfying yet safe casino experiences.

Anca Iamandi
ReviewerAnca IamandiSenior Author & Editor at CasinoAlpha

Anca's analytical skills developed in Generative Linguistics allow her to bring you clear casino content. Her texts will help you understand online casinos, bonuses, fees, and essential rules, in order to forget about the gambling myths that pull you down. She's a strong advocate of safe gambling.