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Prince Harry makes draw as St James' Park gets England v Samoa Rugby League World Cup opener

The Duke of Sussex and Jon Dutton (left), Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, with children playing rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The fixtures for North East Rugby League World Cup host venues St James' Park and Kingston Park have been revealed.

St James' Park in Newcastle will host the opening ceremony and the opening game of the tournament, England v Samoa, while three matches will also be played at Kingston Park.

The Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough will host a significant men’s group game while York's Community Stadium will host a women’s group game and both women’s semi-finals.

  • England v Samao - St James' Park, Newcastle - Saturday October 23rd 2021

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Credit: PA

The Duke of Sussex joined players from across the globe at Buckingham Palace to host the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw.

Harry is making his first appearance at an official event since he and wife Meghan plunged the monarchy into crisis by announcing they want to step back from their roles as senior royals, live part of the year in Canada and become financially independent.

The duke, who wore a suit, smiled and joked when he was welcomed by the RLW2021's chief executive officer Jon Dutton and its non-executive director Stuart Cain in the palace gardens.

The Duke of Sussex with Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, in the Buckingham Palace gardens Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images

The global tournament being staged by the UK is the pinnacle event for rugby league and will take place during October and November in 17 cities across England.

Harry was also introduced to two ambassadors for the global tournament - James Simpson, England and Leeds Rhino wheelchair rugby league star, and Jodie Cunningham, a rugby league player in the Women's Super League for St Helens.

In front of the group were 12 children from St Vincent de Paul Catholic primary school in Westminster, playing on a mini rugby pitch.

The youngsters are Westminster champions in tag rugby, a non-contact form of the game, for the last three years.

Mr Simpson made Harry laugh when he said: "We started without you".

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