Debut nations across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair variants of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, which will be held together for the first time in England next year, have expressed their enhanced excitement following yesterday’s fixture reveal.
Brazil’s women will open their competition against the hosts in a double header at Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds on November 9, team manager Rob Burgin commenting: “The Amazonas are excited to give a strong account of themselves, for Latin America and on behalf of all developing nations. To have our nation of 210 million people facing hosts England in the women’s World Cup opener was something we could only dream of a few short years ago. The squad is already training hard and determined to bring the most entertaining facets of rugby league to fresh eyes around the world.”
Norway make their wheelchair bow at London’s Copperbox Arena facing Spain two days later, and Norway RL president Karl-Fredrik Velle noted: “The schedule gives us enough rest between games to help us focus on developing the sport during the World Cup. Our team is motivated and ready for the big event. Right now we don’t know when we can have regular training again because of Covid-19 restrictions but this is a real boost for us to look forward to.”
In the men’s tournament, Greece face France in their opener in Doncaster on October 25, in a group with England and Samoa. Head coach Steve Georgallis confirmed: “We’re extremely excited to be part of the Rugby League World Cup in 2021. Clearly the opening match is a history-making occasion for everyone involved with Rugby League in Greece and all those around the world who have supported us on this long journey.
“All our matches are against nations of the highest quality, that is a challenge that everyone is looking forward too. We are so lucky to be playing the host nation England at the magnificent Bramall Lane ground, our home base in Sheffield. The city has a high Greek population and we hope they get behind us and enjoy this once-in-a-life time event.”
There is similar anticipation in Jamaica, who become the first Caribbean nation to play in the finals series. They open against Ireland also in Leeds on October 25; New Zealand and Lebanon in their group. Head coach Romeo Monteith said: “We are very excited to open our World Cup campaign against Ireland. They are a solid team and we hope to be able to match them step-for-step and produce a spectacle for the fans. Facing New Zealand second will be a tough assignment but we will be ready to put our best foot forward. We have Lebanon last and we know they are a quality team. Like us, they are a developing nation in the sport and this bodes well for another fantastic fixture.”
The full draw can be found here