Women’s Rugby League World Cup teams receive Civic Welcome in York  

Yesterday afternoon (31st October), The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of York welcomed Australia, New Zealand, France and Cook Islands Women’s Rugby League World Cup teams to the city at The Principal, York.  The four teams are staying in York for the duration of this year’s tournament and will be playing in their first matches at LNER Community Stadium on Wednesday 2nd November.  

The Women’s teams from Australia, Cook Islands, France and New Zealand join the New Zealand Men’s team as the five teams and four nations being hosted by York this tournament.  The Civic welcome for the New Zealand’s men team took place earlier this month. 

York’s LNER Community Stadium is hosting eight women’s games, more women’s games than any other host city or town in the tournament. The first game in York takes place on Wednesday 2nd November, with a double-header New Zealand v France and Australia v Cook Islands. There will be six group stage games in York in total, followed by the double header Semi-Final on Monday 14th November. Tickets are on-sale from www.rlwc2021.com/tickets 

The Women’s Rugby League World Cup title will be contested by eight teams, the highest number in the tournament’s history. Since its inception, the tournament has only ever been won by two teams. New Zealand have taken home the trophy a record three times, while Australia have won the title twice including the most recent final in 2017.  

Kezie Apps, Co-captain for Australia’s Jillaroos, said: “I would like to thank York for hosting the Women’s Rugby League World Cup, it’s very special and I know we’re all really excited. All the teams have worked extremely hard to be here and have waited a very long time for this moment, so I know that the Jillaroos are really excited to get out and play. We love York so far, we’ve only been here for a week but it’s been amazing. Everyone is so lovely, we’re so close to everything, it has a rich history and we’re grateful for York and can’t wait for the Rugby League World Cup to kick off.” 

Elianna Walton, Player for Cook Islands, said: “Thank you to the City of York for hosting us and all the special dignitaries, we really appreciate it. It’s been a long travel for us, we’re super excited to be in the ‘pool of death’ as we call it. We’ve got the world number one and world number two, so we’re looking forward to it and really excited.” 

Alice Varela, Team Captain for France, said: “The French players have left their families, their children and have had to take unpaid leave from work to participate in this World Cup. We do it with great pleasure, because it is a real passion for each and every one of us. We are aware that the pool is particularly a death sentence, but my girls are warriors. They are ready to face the best, they are not afraid. We are lucky to be welcomed in York, a beautiful city to walk around. The hotel is great and the university facilities are top.” 

Georgia Hale, Vice Captain for New Zealand’s Kiwi Ferns, said: “On behalf of the Kiwi Ferns, we’d like to extend our massive gratitude and thanks to the City of York for hosting us for the duration of our campaign and to everybody involved in putting on, contributing and organising the World Cup that we have been waiting for for quite some time! Being in York so far, the weather is quite similar to New Zealand so we’ve felt really at home. We’ve really appreciated being shown around the city and our training facilities. We’re really proud to represent our home and our heritage on an international stage and to showcase how amazing women’s Rugby League is.” 

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said: “We are delighted to welcome these world-class athletes to our city and we wish them good luck during the tournament. 

 “The next few weeks will provide a unique opportunity for the city and wider region. The games will have a huge reach with fans across the world and give York invaluable exposure on the international stage. 

“By continuing to work closely with our partners our focus is on this tournament having a long-term impact. The city has already seen community rugby league events, as well as investment in facilities and equipment. With the first women’s games soon to be played York we are hopeful that the action will inspire a new generation of sporting stars. 

“I hope the teams enjoy their stay in our wonderful city. I know that the people of York will give all the teams a warm welcome.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “It was great to welcome the women’s teams from Australia, the Cook Islands, France and New Zealand to York before the women’s Rugby League World Cup kicks off. 

“It has been a fantastic start to the world cup so far and we are hugely excited for the women’s tournament to get underway this week. With York hosting eight games across four matchdays, including both semi-finals, it promises to be a fantastic few weeks of sport. To have the reigning world champions, Australia, playing at the LNER Community Stadium, which will host international fixtures for the first time, is very exciting. With the added hope of England playing in a World Cup semi-final in York, there is so much to enjoy these next few weeks. 

“I look forward to following each team’s progress in what promises to be an amazing few weeks of world class sport. Tickets are still available for the matches in York, so don’t miss out on these great events.” 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York said: “In a year where women’s sport has made front pages and captured the imagination of so many, we couldn’t be prouder to be hosting more women’s games in York than any other host city or town.  

“All eight games at the LNER Community Stadium are set to be a great occasion, including the highly anticipated double header Semi Final fixtures. It is a huge opportunity to showcase York on the international sporting stage, and a brilliant chance to see world class teams play international sport on our doorstep. 

“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. “ 

For more information, please contact: 

Make It York 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 


Rugby League World Cup 

Rob Meaden, Head of Communications: rob.meaden@rlwc2021.com / 07890561448 

Abby Burton, Communications Lead: abby.burton@rlwc2021.com / 07435985333 

Aaron Gales, Communications Lead: aaron.gales@rlwc2021.com / 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 rlwc2021.com/tickets  

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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