Reasons to Love RL: World Cup squad trips, Leigh and BBC deal

RLWC2021 host cities of Leeds and York join ‘Squad Trips’ List

Rugby League World Cup 2021’s host cities of Leeds and York joined the growing list of venues opening their doors to fans through a simple tournament booking platform – ‘Squad Trips’ – that will enhance the event experience of thousands of World Cup supporters.

‘Squad Trips’ will provide instant access to tickets as part of a package with accommodation and access to local attractions in all host cities.

Additionally, fans who have already booked their place at RLWC2021 during the ticket sales phases have the chance to add accommodation and activities to their previous ticket purchases.

Leeds will play host to the much-anticipated Men’s semi-final on November 19, 2021 at Leeds United’s famous Elland Road while Leeds Emerald Headingley Stadium will be the venue for the opening match of the RLWC2021 Women’s tournament between England and Brazil.

Leeds Emerald Headingley Stadium will stage, in total, five match days which will include games involving New Zealand, Ireland and Jamaica Men in Group C as well as England, Canada, Brazil and Papua New Guinea in Women’s Group A.

York’s new LNER Community Stadium will be the stage for Women’s Group B matches which includes Australia, New Zealand, France and Cook Islands as well as the exciting women’s semi-final double header on November 22, 2021.

The RLWC2021 Commercial Director, Jonathan Neill said: “Through ‘Squad Trips’ we want to provide the best and easiest possible experience for the thousands of fans who are looking to secure their seat, their accommodation and enjoy the hospitality and attractions of the host cities.

“Ticket sales are always-on through the one-stop shop of the ‘Squad Trips’, digital platform for what will be the biggest and best RLWC in history.

“Squad Trips also allows fans from not just the UK but worldwide to celebrate the diversity, beauty and appeal of the host towns and cities.’

“There will be a variety of accommodation and activity options available on the platform that will enable fans to build their own bespoke squad trip to the tournament and provide the opportunity to access some of the most popular attractions available in each venue.

Jonathan Neill added: “This is a great opportunity for local businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors, who have suffered so much during the unprecedented year of 2020, to show to the thousands of fans attending the most accessible and affordable RL World Cup in history that they will be open to provide a warm welcome in October and November 2021.”

Leigh secure Super League spot

This past week it was announced that Leigh Centurions would take the vacant 12th spot in Super League.

Each team that sent in an application also had to prove that they met a set of criteria laid out by the RFL – a selected panel then reviewed the bids to decide which team would be promoted.

Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London, Toulouse and York all submitted applications to join the competition’s top flight – but it was the Centurions that were the successful candidates.

Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said: “Six weeks after Super League clubs chose to return to a 12-team format, we are delighted to welcome Leigh Centurions to our 2021 competition.

“The independent panel was impressed by Centurions’ application which scored highly on all published criteria, and it is a credit to everyone at the club that they were able to produce such a comprehensive submission in such a demanding timeframe.

“The club has a number of top-class players with Super League experience, a great stadium and a passionate and committed fan base, all of which will add to the 2021 competition.”

Duffy added: “ I’m so happy for everyone who has put so much work into the criteria document.

“We are Super League ready – we’ve got a stadium which is hosting World Cup games, a chairman who is putting in the money, and we’ve been there and done it.

“I think it’s exciting more than daunting. We are straight in with getting up to speed, and our goal is to give it a good go and make sure we stay in Super League.”

RFL extend partnership with BBC for Challenge Cup coverage

The Rugby Football League have agreed a new three-year deal with the BBC to extend their coverage of the Challenge Cup competition until 2024.

The new deal for the men’s competition will see the BBC continue to cover two matches from the round of 16, the quarter-finals, both semi-finals before finishing with the final at Wembley.

In addition, both the Wheelchair Challenge Cup final and the Women’s Challenge Cup final will be shown for the next four seasons.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “As we near the end of a year of so many unprecedented challenges, we are delighted to have concluded a deal to extend the BBC’s coverage not only of the Challenge Cup, but also of the Women’s and Wheelchair competitions which we see as being so important to the future of our sport.”

BBC Sport director Barbara Slater said: “Our strong relationship with the RFL goes back many years and we are delighted to continue bringing live coverage of the Challenge Cup, across BBC platforms to fans up to 2024.”

Josh Addo-Carr signs for Bulldogs

‘The Fox’ Josh Addo-Carr will leave Melbourne for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for the 2022 season.

The Dogs sought off some stiff competition as he was rumoured to be linked with a number of clubs including South Sydney Rabbitohs as well as a return to the Wests Tigers.

The 25-year-old has scored 79 tries in 105 games for the Tigers and Storm. He has played for Australia twice, New South Wales nine times and has represented the Indigenous All Stars on two occasions.

Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said: “Having someone like Josh choose to join the Bulldogs after being the target of a number of clubs is another sign that we are gradually piecing together a squad that has the right mix of experience and quality.

“Josh has been a proven performer at whatever level he has played and he will bring those elements of speed and strike power that all clubs are looking for in their backline.

“We look forward to him joining us for the 2022 season and wish him all the best for next season.”

Sydney Roosters resign two young bucks

Sydney Roosters young bucks Sitili Tupouniua and Sam Verrills have both signed new contract extensions that will see them remain at the club until at least the end of 2024.

Forward Tupouniua, 23, has played 37 games for the Roosters since making his first team debut in 2018 white hooker Verrills, 21, made his first team debut with the Roosters in 2019 and has made 19 NRL appearances to date.

Verrills said: “ I love being part of the team we have here, and I’m really excited to know that this is where I’ll continue to build my career

“The Roosters have taken really good care of me, especially this year with my injury. I’m learning so much from Robbo and the senior boys we have here.

“I’m keen to keep working on getting back out there on the field and securing an opportunity to represent this Club that means so much to me.”

23-year-old Tupouniua was a member of the Roosters’ 2016 National Youth Competition Premiership-winning side.

“I love the Roosters and I’m really happy to have re-signed here,” said Tupouniua.

“Robbo, the coaches and the leaders we have here push you to be better every day. We’re a tight group and I’m so proud to be part of this Club.

Roosters head coach Trent Robinson was looking forward to continuing to work with Verrills and Tupouniua in the coming seasons.

“Sam and Sitili are genuinely good people and I’ve loved watching their development over the last few years,” said Robinson.

“They both have a ‘team first’ mentality and are important members of the squad we have here, so it’s great news to have Sam and Sitili re-commit to the Roosters,” he added.

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