Any Rugby League World Cup is good for the sport.
The last one in England back in 2013 was a huge success and helped grow the game both in England and abroad with the USA being a particular success story.
But this year’s World Cup is set to have an even bigger impact with an already impressive number of tickets sold and with organisers believing they could top ticket sales for the last England based World Cup and even the huge success of the Women’s Euros.
Crucially, the tournament is having an impact on community rugby league with over 100 teams having now entered the Squads on the Tyne festival, which will be a key part of the tournament’s opening weekend, with space still available for more teams to enter.
Run in partnership with The Newcastle Rugby Foundation, the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Newcastle City Council the festival will kickstart the biggest, best and most inclusive Rugby League World Cup in the sport’s 127-year history and will run on the tournament’s opening weekend at Kingston Park, a venue which will host three matches during the tournament, including Scotland against Italy on the tournament’s opening weekend.
The festival will kick off on Friday 14 October, with teams from the region’s primary and secondary schools in action, along with masters rugby league teams from across the country. The community event has been made possible with funding from the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s Tourism & Events Programme
Saturday will see junior clubs and tough rugby in action, before Rugby League World Cup 2021 kicks off with England and Samoa opening the men’s competition at St James Park.
The festival will conclude on the Sunday, as the junior girl’s teams take to the field at Kingston Park before Scotland Men taking on Italy in the afternoon.
Rugby League World Cup 2021’s Social Impact Director, Tracy Power, said: “The festival will be a wonderful celebration of rugby league and form a key part of an incredible opening weekend of the tournament. Rugby league truly is a sport for everyone and to have this festival happening on the same weekend that two of the opening tournament fixtures are in the region.
“There is still time for teams to register to take part and play on the same pitch that will be played on by some of the best players in the world during the tournament. I encourage anyone who is interested in taking part to register their interest now and be part of the biggest, best and most inclusive World Cup in the tournament’s 127 year history.
“Our thanks go to North of Tyne Combined Authority for their support of the festival and to the Newcastle Rugby Foundation for organising what will be a huge, inclusive and very enjoyable event for well over 100 teams from across the UK.”
Melanie Magee, Head of the Newcastle Rugby Foundation, said: “Entries are increasing on a daily basis as schools return and junior rugby league clubs start to wind down their season. All can enjoy a weekend in Newcastle playing rugby league before going on to watch the best in the world, at two great venues, in our wonderful city.
“There is still plenty of time for teams to enter. Involvement is free and the festival will showcase the truly inclusive nature of rugby league with physical disability rugby league, mixed sex touch rugby, Masters RL (Over 35s) and boys and girl’s categories.”