As we head to Leeds Rhinos for the third and final test, only single seats and limited standing room is now available at the AMT Headingley Rugby Stadium for Saturday’s international Rugby League double-header featuring England’s Men and Women versus Tonga and Wales respectively.
Game one, kicking off at 12 noon with coverage on BBC2 from 11.30am, sees England Women return to international action against Wales, while over on BBC1 from 2pm Shaun Wane’s side will be out to make it a 3-0 series whitewash against a Tongan team in search of a history-making first win of a history-making first tour (KO 2.30pm).
And Saturday promises to be both a special and solemn occasion, with wreath-laying ceremonies and the playing of the Last Post in commemoration of those who died in wars worldwide taking place prior to the kick-off of both games. All teams will wear poppies on their playing shirts.
Lynne Kenning will perform England’s national anthem prior to both matches, plus Welsh anthem ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ (Land Of My Fathers) for Wales Women, while sisters Christina, Jemimah and Amelia Vunipola, who sang so beautifully for Tonga at Huddersfield last week, will do so again at Leeds.
For supporters of all sides Saturday offers a final chance to witness the Tongan Sipi Tau war dance live, and to experience the sight, sound and camaraderie of the Tongan fans who have followed their team throughout the series.
At the end of the England versus Tonga match, members of the media will be asked to vote for their Player of the Series. A medal named after the pioneering Tongan Nan Halafihi, who played for Hull FC at Wembley in 1960, will be presented to that player, before England receive their series-winning shield from IRL Vice-Chair Simon Johnson.
For England’s leading female players Saturday’s game is the culmination of a season which has seen the Women’s game scale even greater heights, with the Challenge Cup Final played at Wembley Stadium for the first time and the Super League Grand Final drawing a record crowd at the LNER Community Stadium in York.
And there is more international Rugby League across the city 24 hours later at the first direct arena, which hosts a mouthwatering rematch between England’s Wheelchair World Champions and losing finalists France. Sunday’s game will be played on a unique playing surface designed specifically for Wheelchair Rugby League and provided by Rugby League’s commercial partner Betfred as part of the company’s support for the game at the highest level. The match will be shown live on BBC2 and iPlayer with kick-off at 3.15pm.