Sam Tomkins relishes underdogs tag and believes England can win the Rugby League World Cup

It's the biggest and most inclusive World Cup in rugby league's 127 history.

For the first time ever the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments are taking place at the same time, and the North West is at heart of the action.

Bolton, Leigh, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, St Helens, Warrington and Wigan are all hosting either teams or games.

While the women's and wheelchair competitions start in November, the men's competition kicks off with England against Samoa on 15 October at Newcastle United's St James' Park.

England's Sam Tomkins and Shaun Wane Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire/PA Images

Leading the host nation are Wiganers Shaun Wane and Sam Tomkins. The Head Coach and captain both have dreams of a first ever World Cup crown for England.

Sam says: "I truly believe we can (win). We're underdogs we're not favourites for this competition there's probably two or three nations in front of us.

"But underdogs is a tag we're happy to go into it with. We've got nothing to lose and we've got a group of really good players who are desperate to win."

Shaun says: "Very proud. I love the national anthem. I love the fact that there's going to be 40-50,000 England fans always pushing us to win.

"And that's just a real good pressure on us to make sure that we perform at our best."

Australia celebrates winning the Rugby League World Cup in 2017. Credit: DARREN ENGLAND/AAP/PA Images

England were beaten 6-0 in the final by Australia at the last World Cup in 2017.

The reigning champions, along with New Zealand and Tonga are among the favourites to win this year's tournament.

North West talent dominates England's squad and the home-grown heroes have more motivation to go all way with this year's final being held at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.

Salford Red Devils and England player Kallum Watkins says: "That's means a lot. I grew up in Manchester and played at Old Trafford three times in the Grand Final.

"To get there in the World Cup final would be the ultimate dream."

St Helens and England player Jack Welsby adds: "A home World Cup is probably only going to happen once in your career.

"So for me I'm just buzzing that I've got the chance at this age to come in and train with these blokes and hopefully play with them as well."

Warrington Wolves and England player George Williams says: "My first call up was 2015 and it doesn't feel any different.

"You still get that buzz, I don't know what it is inside you, but you come off the phone a little bit emotional.

"It's brilliant, it's the best phone call you can get all year really."

England's Herbie Farnworth playing for the Brisbane Broncos Credit: DAVE HUNT/AAP/PA Images

Uncapped Herbie Farnworth is an exciting call up for England. The 22-year-old left his Lancashire home of Barrowford five years ago to play down under in Brisbane.

After a difficult start that bold move is now paying off.

Herbie says: "It was horrible! It was really hard.

"I remember my last day over here I was sat on the bench at the bus stop and just started crying my eyes out. I was thinking what am I doing? Really, really tough thing to do.

"Playing in this World Cup, it's my debut and to play in front of my family and friends would be a special moment. To go on and win it would be something else."      

After Covid-19 forced a 12 month delay, the teams, the supporters and the North West are all ready with the start of the Rugby League World Cup finally here.