New Zealand Men’s team arrive in York ahead of Rugby League World Cup  

Yesterday afternoon (11th October), The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of York welcomed the New Zealand Kiwis Men’s Rugby team to the city at Mansion House. The former Rugby League World Cup Champions, who are currently ranked world Number 1 in the International Rugby League, are staying in York for the duration of this year’s tournament.  

The New Zealand Men’s team are one of the five teams being hosted by York; alongside the women’s teams from New Zealand, Australia, France and Cook Islands. A Civic Welcome for the women’s teams will be hosted later this month.  

York’s LNER Community Stadium is hosting eight women’s games, more women’s games than any other host city, including the double-header semi-final. Tickets are on-sale from 

Jordan Rapana, Player for New Zealand Kiwis said: “We’re really looking forward to the Rugby League World Cup, I know we’ve got a very good team here and a very good squad. I know we can do some damage in this competition, so really looking forward to it.  

In terms of where we’re based in York, it’s a beautiful place. I’ve been here two days now and the atmosphere great, beautiful old buildings and wonderful welcoming people. I’ve lived here in England in the past and this is by far my favourite place.” 

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the New Zealand Men’s Rugby League team to York, the first of a number of nations that will be staying in the city for the Rugby League World Cup, including Australia, France and Cook Islands. 

“This tournament will be viewed across the world and I have no doubt these teams will inspire a new generation of athletes here in York. We will be working with partners across the city to ensure this event creates a long lasting legacy for the sport and the wider community, with resident engagement set to be a key part of the activity. 

“Bringing this world event to York is the result of a huge partnership effort, and I know that the people of York will give all the teams a fantastic welcome. 

“I hope the team enjoy their stay in York and wish them all the best in their matches.” 

Darryl Smalley, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “Since bidding for the Rugby League World Cup a number of years ago, we have been looking forward to the time we would be welcoming these athletes to our city. New Zealand is a proud sporting nation and is one of the best rugby league teams in the world so it is brilliant to have them in York. 

“The next few weeks will provide a unique opportunity for the city and wider region to host world class sport and we’re particularly looking forward to hosting international games in York’s LNER Community Stadium for the first time. With the competition set to begin shortly, excitement is building across the city and the country. 

“I look forward to following their progress in the tournament in what promises to be a great few weeks of incredible rugby league and a showcase of the sport. If you haven’t already secured tickets, they are still available for the matches in York, so don’t miss out!” 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York said: “We’re delighted to be hosting such a high level of talent in York for the Rugby League World Cup. It’s been an inspiring evening welcoming the internationally ranked world number 1 New Zealand men’s team to our city, and we look forward to welcoming the four women’s teams later this month. The Rugby League World Cup is an occasion not to be missed, with eight women’s games being hosted at our very own LNER Community Stadium. 

Bringing the Rugby League World Cup to York has been a city effort from partners across the city including City of York Council, York City Knights, Make It York, GLL, York St John University, University of York and Queen Ethelberga’s. It is an honour to showcase York to the international sporting community and inspire future generations of athletes here in York.” 

For more information, please contact: 

Make It York 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 

Rugby League World Cup 

Rob Meaden, Head of Communications: / 07890561448 

Abby Burton, Communications Lead: / 07435985333 

Aaron Gales, Communications Lead: / 07533707363 


About Rugby League World Cup 2021 

The Rugby League World Cup is the pinnacle major event of rugby league, globally contested every four years. RLWC2021 will be a breakthrough moment in the tournament’s history with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the first time. 

The three tournaments will take place across 21 venues throughout England. Both the women’s and wheelchair competitions will be contested by two groups of four teams, whilst the men’s tournament will see 16 teams compete across four groups. 

RLWC2021 will be the most visible rugby league event in history with all 61 games in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being broadcast live on the BBC. 

Fixtures in York: 

New Zealand vs France (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Wednesday 2nd November) – 17.00pm 

Australia vs Cook Islands (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Wednesday 2nd November) – 19.30pm 

New Zealand vs Cook Islands (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Sunday 6th November) – 17.00pm 

Australia vs France (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Sunday 6th  November) – 19.30pm 

France vs Cook Islands (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Thursday 10th November) – 17.00pm 

Australia vs New Zealand (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Thursday 10th November) – 19.30pm 

Women’s Semi-Final (Teams TBC) – LNER Community Stadium (Monday 14th  November) – 17.00pm 

Women’s Semi-Final (Teams TBC) – LNER Community Stadium (Monday 14th November) – 19.30pm 

For full ticketing details visit  

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities. 

These are: 

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

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