Rob Burrow to kick-off Rugby League World Cup opening ceremony

James Gordon
Rob Burrow

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

World Cup organisers have revealed Rob Burrow will launch the official tournament welcome ahead of England’s game against Samoa at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Burrow, alongside his parents Geoff and Irene, will be in the stands to start the tournament welcome event at 2pm, which ends with former teammate and friend Kevin Sinfield and others on the pitch bringing out the three tournament trophies as the tournament gets underway.

He said: “It’s an honour to get the RLWC2021 Tournament Welcome underway and join my family and my friend Kev at St James’ Park for the opening celebrations. This tournament is going to be like no other so to be there in Newcastle for that opening game, in what should be an unbelievable occasion, its going to be an absolute thrill.”

After Burrow kick-starts the event, multiple Brit Award winning, indie-rock band Kaiser Chiefs will then take to the pitch as the headline music act, whilst 32 flag barriers representing each nation across all three tournaments are paraded at the home of Newcastle United.

Trophy bearers

Just before kick-off, the three RLWC trophies being brought into the stadium by individuals who represent different elements of the sport and tournament values.

Tournament ambassadors Kevin Sinfield and Jason Robinson will bring in the Paul Barrière men’s trophy. Sporting icon and tournament supporter Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and James Simpson, RLWC2021 wheelchair ambassador, will bring out the Wheelchair trophy.

RFL President Clare Balding will then bring out the women’s trophy alongside Fareeha Usman, a North East resident, who has been recognised as a voice for equality and diversity in the community via her incredible work to support asylum seekers and refugee women and families in Northumberland.

RLWC2021 Chief Executive, Jon Dutton, said: “The Tournament Welcome event will be a celebration of what the tournament stands for, celebrating inclusivity and social impact at the heart of the event, before we welcome some of the world’s best athletes.

“It’s a privilege to invite Rob and his family there to help us open the tournament, as someone who personifies our bold and brave values, he’s the perfect person to help us start the Tournament Welcome and join the other amazing people on the pitch before the opening game. It’s going to be some occasion!”

To join Rob and the rest of the team at the ultimate party, limited tickets remain available. Please for more information

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