16 January 2020 08:36
With the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, conducting the tournament's first ever public draw at Buckingham Palace on Thursday in his first engagement since the shock announcement that he and his wife the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, are to step back from royal duties, the eyes of the world will be on proceedings in a way no-one could have anticipated at the turn of the year. With the men's, women's and wheelchair rugby league World Cups being staged together and simultaneously for the first time, the tournament is set to be one of the most inclusive, diverse and ground-breaking sporting events ever staged in Britain. The men's and women's finals will take place as a double-header at Old Trafford, while Arsenal's Emirates will host a sport other than football for the first time. But from the arrival of the newly promoted Toronto Wolfpack into this season's Super League and the franchise's superstar singing Sonny Bill Williams, to the first three-Test Ashes series against Australia for 17 years staged here in the autumn, and the building of a brand new national rugby league centre in Manchester, 2020 is set to be an exciting year for the sport. Participants of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England will receive vital mental health education as part of a groundbreaking Mental Fitness Charter.
The tournament is also committed to delivering mental fitness workshops to 8,000 young rugby league players and their families. Prince Harry – patron of the Rugby Football League, who will conduct the tournament's live draw from Buckingham Palace on Thursday (11pm AEST) – said he was proud to support the initiative. "This charter will build on the brilliant work already happening in rugby league by committing to training and educating all those involved in the tournament – and the wider rugby league family – not only in how they can look after their own mental fitness but also support others to do the same." Jon Dutton, chief executive of the RLWC2021, said the tournament was "determined to make a real impact with people both inside and outside of rugby league" in regards to mental health. "We're certain of having world-class action on the pitch during the tournament and with millions of viewers tuned in from around the globe, our mental fitness campaign will create a lasting impact across the globe in helping rugby league communities get ahead of the game." The 2021 World Cup – to be held between October 23 and November 27 across 21 venues in England – will feature men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments being played under the same banner. JASON ROBINSON and Prince Harry will be friends reunited at today's 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw.
"There are girls who have been working tirelessly for the last two years to build rugby league in Canada and have been doing such a good job," she said in an email between fighting a west Coast snowstorm and getting on her flight to England. Canada will join two-time defending champion Australia, host England, Brazil, Cook Islands, France, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in the women's competition, which runs from Oct. 23 to Nov. 27 in England. Sixteen teams will contest the men's title with host England, defending champion Australia, New Zealand and Tonga heading up each of the four groups. The men's event, which runs Oct. 23 to Nov. 27, also features Fiji, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland and Wales. The World Cup women's draw will split the teams into three pots, with England (hosts) and Australia (reigning champions) already pre-allocated into Group A and B, respectively.
It is also hoped the town will host one of the competing teams – as they did for Samoa when the World Cup was last on these shores in 2013 – but that is yet to be confirmed.