Newcastle celebrates one year to go to RLWC2021

With exactly one year to go, world renowned poet and proud Northerner Tony Walsh today captures the passion, excitement and community pride that epitomises the unique and inclusive spirit of the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

The poem, The Power of Together, is a rallying call from Manchester-born Walsh, also known as Longfella, for communities across the country to play their part in supporting the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history. 

As the public ticket ballot opens and the tournament comes into sight, Walsh urges fans to not miss out and play their part in making the tournament one to remember – “Help us bring it, help us sing it; help us make the planet tremble, The Rugby League World Cup is coming. Squads assemble!”

The public ticket ballot – the first in Rugby League World Cup history – opened at 9:00 23 October 2020 (today) and will remain open for applications until 16 November 2020 at 20:21. 

Fans will be able to apply for tickets for each of the 61 matches across all three tournaments, with tickets in each price band at every game available.

Newcastle will be hosting four fixtures across two venues, starting off with the opening match of the tournament, England vs Samoa at St James’ Park. Newcastle will also be the team training base for Scotland’s men’s team.

Following the unprecedented demand during the Rugby League family priority access sale, fans are encouraged to apply for a wide selection of matches or use the Powerplay option to have a better chance of seeing their favourite team play during RLWC2021.

Powerplay’ automatically puts you into the ballot for tickets to the same match but in the next price category up. RLWC2021 will run the lowest priced ballots first so if you use Powerplay, your original choice will always be given priority.

Fans are reminded that the public ticket ballot will be the last opportunity to buy a ticket to the tournament at 2020 promotional rates, ticket prices will increase from 1 January 2021.  

To apply for tickets in the Public Ticket Ballot, applicants must register an account via the official Rugby League World Cup 2021 Ticketing website,

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 CEO, said today: “We are thrilled that a figure such as Tony who, like Rugby League, is a huge part of Northern culture has helped us mark a year to go to the tournament with this iconic poem and video – filmed at the RLWC2021 tournament final venue – Old Trafford, Manchester.

‘’Tony captures everything that is great about our game and the tournament, particularly the special way it is woven into the fabric of the North of England and the positive social impact the tournament is delivering.”

“23 October is a day we have all been looking forward to as the one-year countdown begins to the opening match in Newcastle between England and Samoa in 2021. But also, today is a landmark moment not just for the tournament but also the sport of Rugby League as we have the opportunity to welcome many potential future Rugby League fans to the sport through the Public Ticket ballot.”

Dutton added: “The ballot provides a brilliant chance for anybody who wants to attend RLWC2021 and watch the most exciting and competitive Rugby League available and be part of sporting history next autumn.”

“Newcastle has a big part to play in next years’ tournament, and with just one year to go, we can feel the excitement and tension mounting as the world’s best will be coming to Newcastle.”

“England has a rich history of staging great global sporting events with phenomenal public support. We know the Rugby League World Cup 2021 will be no different and fans will turn out in record numbers to support the event.”

Manchester poet Tony Walsh, aka Longfella, added: “Themes like passion and a sense of community are often features of my poetry and few sports can rival Rugby League for these things. So the invitation to capture the spirit of the game and to help build excitement for a world class sporting event, right here on our doorsteps, was one that I couldn’t resist. 

Sport has a unique capacity to unite and inspire us and we need that more than ever in these most challenging of times. 12 months to go. “Squads assemble!”

Councillor Ged Bell, cabinet member for employment and culture added: “It is now only 12 months until the eyes of the sporting world will be focused on Newcastle as our city kicks off the Rugby League World Cup 2021. 

“Planning is well underway for what will be a spectacular celebration of rugby and the start of the biggest tournament in Rugby League’s rich history. Visitors and residents will enjoy a lively, vibrant and colourful opening ceremony followed by a bumper weekend of matches with England’s first game at St James Park and Scotland taking to the pitch at Kingston Park headlining the first few days of action. 

“Newcastle has built a world class reputation as a city that can put on a show and host sports’ showcase events. The pandemic put on hold many of our events this year, but we can look ahead to the programme in 2021 with renewed energy and hope. Large scale events bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to our city and will be vital in the long-term economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Sarah Green, Chief Executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We cannot wait until the Rugby League World Cup kicks off in Newcastle in October 2021. Holding major events in the region provides great experiences for local residents, puts the region in the spotlight for visitors and the media, and delivers long-term benefits for local businesses – last year’s European Professional Club Rugby Finals brought in nearly £25m to the region’s economy and in 2018, Rugby League’s Magic Weekend saw 65,000 fans bring in a direct impact of nearly £8m.

“The North East has a reputation for hosting world-class sporting events and fan zones that create amazing experiences for both locals and fans. After a year in which a lot of events have been cancelled or postponed, we’re really excited to not only host four group games but the opening ceremony and the first England fixture. We’re looking forward to welcoming supporters from around the world and showcasing our fantastic region.”