Rugby League World Cup organisers call it 'most inclusive one yet', as event kicks off in Newcastle

Men's, women's and wheelchair events are running concurrently across the month-long tournament. Credit: ITV News

Organisers say the Rugby League World Cup 2021 will be the biggest and most inclusive yet.

Men's, women's and wheelchair events will be running concurrently across the month-long tournament for the first time.

More than 450,000 tickets have been sold for the tournament as a whole and it is hoped that it will encourage more people of all backgrounds to get involved with the sport.

  • John Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup

Rebecca Stevens represented England Women's side for four years between 1998 and 2002. She hopes the event will encourage more young girls to get involved in the sport.

She said: "I really hope that it enables people to get involved, for young girls to see their idols playing and think, 'right, I'm gonna have a go at that, that's what I want to achieve, that's what I want to aspire to.' So I really help it will help to grow the game.

"It's always brilliant to be in front of a home crowd, we saw that in the 2012 Olympics and I played in the first World Cup here in 2000. It was brilliant, having your friends, your family, your colleagues. Having that support behind you is great."

Nathan Collins plays England Wheelchair Rugby League. He says it'll make a huge difference to the sport to have the three World Cups running at the same time.

Nathan said: "It puts our sport on a bigger platform, playing them all at the same time, it makes it even better.

"To have it in our own country as well - it's a big platform for everyone, it's just amazing."

York's LNER Community stadium will be hosting the fixtures in Group B of the women's tournament - featuring heavyweight clashes between Australia, France and New Zealand and Cook Islands, as well as both women's semi-finals.

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