UK rugby show squashed like sardines crowd


Rugby League World Cup opening day Image: Rugby League World Cup

Rugby League World Cup 2021 Chief Executive Jon Dutton was delighted to get the tournament (2021 Rugby League World Cup) underway after many years of planning with a fantastic Saturday (October 15th) of action in front of bumper crowds (UK).

‘Rugby League World Cup’ stated that the men’s tournament began with an emphatic 60-6 victory for hosts England over Samoa (country in Oceania) with 43,119 in attendance at the 52,405-capacity St James’ Park in Newcastle upon Tyne, England (UK) while defending champions Australia got the better of Fiji at the 19,700-capacity Headingley Rugby Stadium in Leeds, England, 42-8 to bring the day’s cumulative crowd just under 60,000.

The 2022 Rugby League World Cup, known as the 2021 Rugby League World Cup due to it being postponed from its original schedule last year, started on October 15th and will run till November 19th, 2022 in England (UK).

‘Rugby League World Cup’ further stated that before kickoff in Newcastle, the former England international Rob Burrow, who has motor neurone disease, was given a rousing reception as the Chief Guest.

The Official Tournament Welcome saw former internationals Kevin Sinfield and Jason Robinson bring out the men’s trophy, Rugby Football League (RFL) President Clare Balding and local resident Fareeha Usman – who has been recognized as a voice for equality and diversity in the community – delivered the women’s trophy, while 2021 Rugby League World Cup Ambassador James Simpson and Newcastle Rugby Foundation Head Mel Magee carried the wheelchair trophy.

Observed Dutton, “It was an incredible England performance that few could have predicted. We started the tournament with Rob Burrow as our Chief Guest and it’s great to see people who represent the sports values involved in the Tournament Welcome. It was a really strong first day attendance and we understand that there were more people inside the stadium from the North East than any other region of England.”

Added Dutton, “I think that says a lot about tournaments, that they can attract new spectators. People came, had a great time and saw a great performance and it really does set us up now for the next 59 games. To start so strongly puts us in a really good place and we will move forward with great confidence throughout the tournament.”

For the first time ever, the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions are taking place simultaneously and Dutton thanked all those who had helped things get underway.

He further added, “We are so pleased and proud of all our partners who have worked towards this fantastic opening day (October 15th). It’s very early days of the tournament, we are off to a great start and I can’t wait to see what will happen.”

Unfortunately, a technical problem interrupted the opening ceremony, but Dutton was glad to see the recognition accorded to those carrying out the trophies on the pitch, the armed services personnel and dancers.

He said, “It was disappointing, unfortunate and a one in a million-chance occurrence. It’s one of those uncontrollable things we have to move on from and at least we got a chance to celebrate Rob, welcome Kevin and Jason, Fareeha, Clare, James, and Mel. The stadium looked great with our big trophies and we focus on what’s ahead now and make sure that we can continually improve the customer experience as we go.”

An official statement read, “RLWC2021 would like to sincerely apologize for the disrupted Tournament Welcome, which was severely affected by technical failure. It wasn’t the start we wanted but we would like to thank the fans for their patience and for continuing to celebrate the teams and the tournament.”

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