The 21 venues for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup were announced on Tuesday, and for the first time the women’s and wheelchair events will be run alongside the men’s competition.
The tournament will be played solely in England between 23rd October and 27th November, with the majority of venues based in the North.
The opening ceremony will take place at St James’ Park in Newcastle, home to Newcastle United and also the venue for Super League’s past four Magic Weekends.
The men’s and women’s finals will both be played at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground on 27th November, the same stadium where Australia beat New Zealand in the 2013 men’s final, while the wheelchair final will take place at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena.
Other Premier League stadiums being used include Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, one of only two venues in London, and Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium, where this year’s Super League Magic Weekend will take place.
As always with Rugby League there’s been some negativity around the announcement, with one of the big talking points being the venues which have missed out on hosting games.
Wigan’s DW Stadium is probably the standout omission from the venue list, while Wembley’s a surprising snub too, having held the semi-finals as a double header in 2013 and drawing a crowd of almost 68,000 for the occasion.
There’s also been some criticism of the venues being mostly in the heartlands, with expansionists unhappy about the lack of games throughout the country. The counter argument of course is that in theory the crowds are likely to be higher if the games take place in the North. As is always the case, there’s usually a few people that will be unhappy regardless.
Anyway, here are the full list of venues where matches will be played:
- Newcastle – St James’ Park (52,405 capacity)
- Sheffield – Bramall Lane (32,702) & English Institute of Sport
- Doncaster – Keepmoat Stadium (15,231)
- Hull – KCOM Stadium (25,586)
- York – York Community Stadium (8,005)
- Huddersfield – John Smith’s Stadium (24,500)
- Leeds – Elland Road (37,890) & Headingley Stadium (21,062)
- Liverpool – Anfield (54,074) & M&S Bank Arena (11,000)
- Manchester – Old Trafford (74,994)
- Preston – First training base to be revealed
- St. Helens – Totally Wicked Stadium (18,000)
- Warrington – Halliwell Jones Stadium (15,200)
- Leigh & Wigan – Leigh Sports Village (12,000)
- Bolton – University of Bolton Stadium (28,723)
- London – Emirates Stadium (60,260) & Copper Box Arena (7,500)
- Middlesbrough – Riverside Stadium (34,742)
- Workington – Workington Community Stadium (under construction)
- Coventry – Ricoh Arena (32,609)
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