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Rugby League World Cup: All you need to know

Article originally published on (06/07/22)

The long wait for the postponed 2021 Rugby League World Cup is edging towards a conclusion as all 16 teams eagerly anticipate the major tournament on English soil.

Once again it's international heavyweights Australia who are the team to beat but there will be plenty of nations who will harbour hopes of lifting the trophy at Old Trafford on 19th November.

Here's a rundown of all you need to know for the World Cup later this year.


2021 Rugby League World Cup




15th October - 19th November 2022

How to watch

BBC 1 and BBC 2


Outright Winner - Australia 3/10, England 6/1, New Zealand 13/2, Tonga 11/1, Samoa 28/1

When is the Rugby League World Cup?

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup was postponed from last year but instead will take place from 15th October to 19th November 2022.

There are four groups of four teams and all the nations will be more than familiar with their opponents after the draw took place all the way back on 16th January 2020 at Buckingham Palace.

Hosts England will face Samoa in the opening game of the tournament on 15th October at Newcastle's St James' Park.

Where is the Rugby League World Cup?

England are the hosts of this year's tournament with 18 stadiums hosting the 31 games across the competition.

Manchester United's Old Trafford, with a capacity of 74,994 will host the final on 19th November, while the two semi-finals will be played at Leeds United's Elland Road and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

The other venues to host are St James' Park, Riverside Stadium, Bramall Lane, MKM Stadium, Coventry Building Society Arena, University of Bolton Stadium, DW Stadium, John Smith's Stadium, Headingley Stadium, Totally Wicked Stadium, Keepmoat Stadium, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Leigh Sports Village, Kingston Park and York Community Stadium.

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Can I watch the Rugby League World Cup?

All games will be available on either BBC 1 or BBC 2 throughout the tournament.

How many times has the Rugby League World Cup taken place?

This is the 16th men's Rugby League World Cup to take place, with the first tournament taking place all the way back in 1954.

It was Great Britain who won the first edition of the competition, beating hosts France 16-12 at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

There have only been three different nations to have been crowned world champions, with 11-time winners Australia the dominant force.

Playing as a united Great Britain, GB won the title in 1954, 1960 and 1972, while New Zealand have got their hands on the trophy on one occasion in 2008.

Who are the favourites for the Rugby League World Cup?

Considering their impressive record in the competition, it's no surprise to see Australia as the heavy 3/10 favourites to make it 12 World Cup titles.

With experienced head coach Mel Meninga at the helm, the Kangaroos will take some stopping and are expected to cruise through Group B against the likes of Fiji, Scotland and Italy.

Hosts England are second favourites at 6/1 and will be hoping they can finally get over the line in the competition this year.

England have been losing finalists on three occasions in 1975, 1995 and 2017 with old rivals Australia coming out on top each time.

In a drab final back in 2017, it was the Kangaroos who managed to edge the final 6-0 at Lang Park in Brisbane.

Former Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane has been tasked with leading his country into this tournament, with England facing Samoa, France and Greece in Group A.

Third favourites for the title at 13/2, New Zealand will also be looking to know their neighbours Australia off their perch.

The Kiwis have featured in three of the last four World Cup finals and Australian coach Michael Maguire will look to put his Aussie loyalties aside as the men in black hope to land a second world title.

Outside of the big three of Australia, New Zealand and England, it's the Pacific Island nations that will harbour hopes of causing a major upset.

The Kiwis, like their fellow title contenders, have a group that should not cause them too many problems.

Lebanon, Jamaica and Ireland look set to be the ones to battle it out between them for second place in the Group C standings.

With explosive and skillful players, the likes of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji have the ability to cause any team problems on their day.

Papua New Guinea have also caused shocks in the past and are interesting outsiders at 80/1 for the trophy.

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