Rugby League World Cup 2021 today celebrates Waitangi Day by unveiling New Zealand legend Honey Hireme-Smiler MNZM as an International Ambassador.
Hireme-Smiler is regarded as a women’s Rugby League all-time great, representing the Kiwi Ferns in 32 tests’ over 18 seasons, which included four World Cups. As well as being named in the NRL.com’s Women’s Rugby League Team of the Decade (2010s) Honey was also appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the sport.
Although she hung up her boots in 2020, Honey has continued to represent the sport in various roles from coaching women and girls’ teams, commentary for Sky Sport NZ, advisor for inclusion in sport for people with disabilities and advocating for the growth of the game through various guest speaking roles.
Announced today on Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, Hireme-Smiler has been brought into the RLWC2021 ambassador squad to spread the values and messages of the tournament internationally, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere.
Honey joins dual-code legend Jason Robinson OBE as an International Ambassador, adding to the respected squad of RLWC2021 ambassadors Adam Hills, James Simpson, Jodie Cunningham, Kevin Sinfield, Lois Forsell, Luke Gale, Oliver Thomasson and Robbie Hunter-Paul.
Commenting on the partnership, Honey said: “The growth of the World Cup since my first tournament in 2003 has been incredible, and the plans for 2021 will no doubt give the women’s game the perfect platform to continue that global growth. The three tournaments, men’s, women’s and wheelchair, being staged at the same time is already monumental in the sports history so I can’t wait to help spread the word in my new role.”
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said: “Honey has been a trailblazer for women’s sport and we’re over the moon she’s going to help represent the tournament as our latest International Ambassador.
“Inclusivity is at the core of our values as a tournament and Honey will be an ideal voice to positively promote what will be the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history.”
Follow all the latest news via www.RLWC2021.com and the official social media channels on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.