The revised schedule for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup has been confirmed with new fixture dates for the England Men, Women and Wheelchair.
Here’s what it means for all three England sides…
Shaun Wane’s side will kick the tournament off against a strong Samoa side at St James’ Park – home of Newcastle United – on Saturday 15 October.
Rugby League fans will be familiar with St James’ Park with the 52,000 capacity stadium having held the Magic Weekend annually between 2016 and 2018 before returning to the Northeast again in 2021.
A week later, on Saturday 22 October, England Men will battle France at the University of Bolton Stadium in a repeat of this year’s end-of-season international with Wane’s side coming away from Perpignan 10-30 victors.
Again, Bolton isn’t new to hosting high-profile Rugby League affairs with the Challenge Cup Semi-Finals being held there in 2018 and 2019 alongside the 2019 Women’s Challenge Cup Final which was won by Leeds Rhinos.
The Men’s Group Stage will culminate in Sheffield at Bramall Lane against Greece on Saturday 29 October. England Men have never faced Greece and will also be making their first-ever appearance at the home of Sheffield United.
If England Men are to win Group A, they will travel to Wigan’s DW Stadium – a new venue under the revised schedule – for the Quarter Finals. However, if they progress from second in Group A, they will return to the University of Bolton Stadium. These games will be played on the 5 and 6 November, respectively.
A victory in either Quarter-Final will guarantee a visit to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in the Semi-Finals on Saturday 12 November before a potential Final appearance at Old Trafford on Saturday 19 November.
The Women’s tournament begins on Tuesday 1 November with a Group A double-header at the Emerald Headingley Stadium in Leeds.
England Women will welcome World Cup debutants Brazil before Papua New Guinea face Canada.
Their second fixture sees the Women’s side go up against Canada at Wigan’s DW Stadium on Saturday 5 November. The game will be part of a double-header with the second of the Men’s Quarter Finals which could include England Men should they top Group A.
England Women will close out the Group Stage back at Leeds’ Emerald Headingley Stadium against Papua New Guinea on Wednesday 9th November, again as part of a double-header with Canada and Brazil occupying the other fixture.
While England Women will face new opposition in Brazil and Canada, the PNG Orchids are a side they have met as recently as 2019 with the sides drawing a two-game Test Series in Papua New Guinea 1-1. England Women were victorious in Goroka thanks to four tries from Captain Emily Rudge before PNG avenged that defeat in Port Moresby a week later.
The Women’s Semi-Finals will be played at York City Knights’ LNER Community Stadium and England Women will be a part of the event on Monday 14 November should they finish first or second in Group A.
England Women could take to the Old Trafford field on Saturday 19 November as Rugby League World Cup Finalists, preceding the Men’s Final.
England Wheelchair will set up camp at London’s Copper Box Arena for their three Group Stage fixtures in 2022.
Their Rugby League World Cup campaign begins against Australia – a side they beat twice in a tour Down Under at the end of 2019 – on Thursday 3 November. This is part of a Group A double-header following on from Spain’s battle with Norway.
They will then face the Spanish on Sunday 6 November before closing out the Group Stage against the Vikings – of Norway – on Wednesday 9 November. Each of these are again double-headers paired with the other Group A fixtures.
If England Wheelchair progress they will be part of a Semi-Final double-header at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, which hosted England’s victory over Wales earlier this season. The Wheelchair Semi-Finals will take place on Sunday 12 November.
With the revised schedule has come a major change in venue with the Wheelchair Final now set to be hosted at Manchester Central on Friday 18 November, the night before the Men’s and Women’s Finals. This means all three Rugby League World Cup Finals will now be held over one weekend in Manchester.
Group Stage fixtures in full:
England v Samoa – Saturday 15 October, 2:30pm – St James’ Park, Newcastle
England v France – Saturday 22 October, 5pm – University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton
England v Greece – Saturday 29 October, 2:30pm – Bramall Lane, Sheffield
England v Brazil – Tuesday 1 November, 2:30pm – Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds
England v Canada – Saturday 5 November, 12pm – DW Stadium, Wigan
England v PNG – Wednesday 9 November, 7:30pm – Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds
England v Australia – Thursday 3 November, 7:30pm – Copper Box Arena, London
England v Spain – Sunday 6 November, 12pm – Copper Box Arena, London
England v Norway – Wednesday 9 November, 1:30pm – Copper Box Arena, London
For more details, visit rlwc2021.com.