No less than SEVEN Yorkshire locations have been chosen to host matches at the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
Doncaster, Kirklees, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, Middlesbrough and York have all been successful in their bids to stage fixtures.
Leeds will host more games than any other city, including a men’s semi-final at Elland Road, three matches at Headingley, and two women’s Rugby League World Cup semi-final double headers.
Hull’s KCOM Stadium will host two men’s games including a quarter-final tie, the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield has also been awarded a quarter-final clash, while Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium will stage three men’s games, Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium will be the venue for a significant men’s group game, and Sheffield will play host to one match at Bramhall Lane as well as a wheelchair fixture at EIS Sheffield.
York meanwhile, will be a major hub for the women’s event, hosting group games and both semi-finals.
It is great news for Yorkshire, the county where the sport was founded back in 1895 and which is still home to so many of its top teams.
The Rugby League World Cup last visited British shores in 2013 but the 2021 edition will be only the third time it has been held exclusively in England. The last time was back in 1970 and before that in 1960.
The 2021 event will also see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the very first time, culminating in an epic Finals Weekend on 27-28 November. Qualifying events are already underway and the full list of nations taking part will be finalised this November.
The competition will be beamed around the globe. The Rugby League World Cup 2017 was broadcast in 128 countries to an audience of 160 million.
Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “Yorkshire’s reputation for hosting global events has never been stronger and I am delighted that our county will once again welcome the world in 2021.
“As the county is the birth place of Rugby League and it’s great news that Leeds has more games than any other city in the UK. It’s brilliant to see Yorkshire once again leading the way for women’s sport with York being one of the main hubs for the women’s Rugby League World Cup 2021.
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of Rugby League World Cup 2021, said: “We can’t wait to welcome fans from all over the world and show them the beauty of Yorkshire, as well as hosting some exciting matches.”
“Fans of rugby league in Yorkshire will no doubt be delighted with today’s announcement. The county is a stronghold for the sport and we know that the fans will provide an incredible atmosphere at each of the venues.”