Newcastle to kick off RLWC 2021 General January 29, 2019 Newcastle will be the focus of the rugby league world in October 2021 as the city is today announced as the host of both the opening ceremony and England’s first game for the Rugby League World Cup. St James’ Park will be the venue as Wayne Bennett’s side gets their campaign underway on Saturday 23rd October, in a ground well known to rugby league fans after holding Super League’s Magic Weekend for four years from 2015-2018. The pinnacle of International Rugby League since 1954, The Rugby League World Cup is now contested every four years, with 2021 set to be a breakthrough moment with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair rugby league world cup’s staged together for the first time. Playing host to both the official start of the tournament and the kick-off of the on-field action, Newcastle will take centre stage at the beginning of a World Cup aiming to be the most visible in history. With the city having successful secured two of the most high-profile events in the World Cup’s calendar, thanks to its status as an iconic destination, of offering world-class facilities and a reputation for providing a great fan experience, it is a platform on which to grow the game. Newcastle Thunder and the award-winning Newcastle Rugby Foundation will now be aiming to use the impact of the tournament to create a meaningful legacy for the sport in the wider region. Activity will begin later this year and will continue throughout the countdown to kick off, with plans including: the establishment of a new rugby league club in the west end of the city the formation of new under 7s teams at each of the regions grassroots clubs further development of the women’s game in the North East A flagship festival in the days leading up to the start of the tournament. Looking ahead to the exciting times to come for rugby league in the region Newcastle Thunder/Newcastle Rugby Foundation Chairman Mick Hogan said: “It is huge news that the 2021 Rugby League World Cup will kick off in Newcastle. The sport has seen significant growth at all levels over the past few seasons and we will expect to see further increases in participation over the next three years for Thunder and the community game. “Once again we will get to demonstrate why Newcastle is such a great host city for major rugby events. The experience of the various partner organisations, the location of the stadium, the excellent infrastructure and the warm Geordie welcome will make for a brilliant weekend. The economic impacts, social and sporting benefits to the city are enormous and we will once again show why Newcastle is now known as ‘Destination Rugby’” The successful bid has been a partnership of Newcastle City Council, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Newcastle United and Newcastle Thunder, who will now continue to work together on delivering a successful event. To sign up for more information on the tournament, Newcastle Thunder and how to get involved, click here.