The rugby league heartland that is the north of England will be rewarded in two years’ time with the arrival of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. Of all the matches – 31 in total – only two will be played at a more southerly venue than Sheffield.
In a move that has surprised some, Wembley Stadium misses out, though London’s Emirates Stadium will host a semi-final, their first rugby league match. The other ‘southern’ match is a group game at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. It follows a target set by the government to hold at least four in five matches in the game’s heartland, following the 2013 tournament when games were played as far away as Bristol, Neath and even Avignon.
The 2021 final will be staged at Old Trafford in Manchester, and other big-name football venues to make the final cut include Elland Road in Leeds, and St James’ Park in Newcastle. Anfield will host the opening ceremony, and England playing in the opening match. The Riverside Stadium in Middlesborough is perhaps the surprise venue on the list, and there will also be matches played at a new venue on Workington, which is purpose-built to hold 8,000 rugby league fans.
For more information about the venues and what it means for the cities, see the article at Sport Business.
If this world cup is anything like the Rugby Union World Cup, the legacy it will leave on grassroots rugby will be long-lasting. Get a head start and introduce rugby training drill videos into your weekly practice. Some of the most popular rugby training drill videos can be watched at Sportplan.
For the first time, the men’s event will be played at the same time as the women’s and the wheelchair tournament so we can expect a buzz from the whole of the North, and in one fabulous day, both the men’s and women’s finals will be played back to back. The wheelchair final goes to Liverpool.
The final draw for the 2021 tournament will take place in November this year, some two years in advance of the opening ceremony – plenty of time for excitement to build! Expect to see and hear a lot more about the Rugby League World Cup in the coming months.