Rugby World Cup: Excitement mounts for arrival of tournament in Sheffield as it aims to be major city of sport
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The tournament kicked off last weekend, bringing the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games together.
As a host city, Sheffield will see nine fixtures. The men’s England v Greece game comes first at Bramall Lane on October 29, to be followed by eight wheelchair matches between France, Wales, USA and Scotland from November 4-13.
The Greece team were welcomed to the Town Hall by Sheffield Mayor Cllr Sioned-Mair Richards and presented with souvenir bottles of Henderson’s Relish.
The tournament is set to be the biggest, most attended and most inclusive in rugby league history, expected to deliver the highest impact and lasting legacy within communities across the country.
This is the latest in a series of high-profile national and international events that Sheffield has successfully bid to host, although the city missed out on Eurovision 2023.
Cllr Minesh Parekh, who sits on Sheffield City Council’s economic development and skills committee, which holds responsibility for events and culture, said: “After successfully hosting the Women’s Euros this summer it’s great to be able to welcome the Rugby League World Cup to our city.
“We’ve also got a UK Figure Skating Grand Prix to come next month, helping to cement Sheffield’s place as the leading city for sport.
“It’s particularly exciting that we’re seeing such enthusiasm across the city to grow the grassroots campaigns. I’m hoping Sheffield can redefine what legacy building looks like, by using these high-profile events to garner more support and funding for grassroots clubs.”
Partnership with Sheffield Eagles
Cllr Parekh previously called for the Lionesses’ Euro victory this summer to be celebrated by committing to greater parity between women’s and men’s football and more funding for grassroots clubs.
Sheffield City Council is working in partnership with Sheffield Eagles and Eagles Foundation, Sheffield United Football Club and Sheffield City Trust to deliver the tournament locally and to use the event to promote the sport.
The tournament was postponed by Covid in 2021 but community and legacy commitments have continued.
Sheffield Eagles and the Eagles Foundation have driven community activity, secured funding and established a new wheelchair team, as well as a new women’s team that has seen promotion after one season. A learning disability team is growing in popularity.
Tag Rugby League has been delivered to more than 2,000 young people in the Sheffield schools and a weekly training session specifically for girls has also been launched.
David Butler, trustee of the Eagles Foundation, said: “Our aim in working with schools is to stimulate growth into the city’s Community Rugby League Clubs, Sheffield Hawks and Sheffield Forgers and has led to an increase in players at the targeted age group.
“It has also allowed us to launch a Sheffield Eagles girls team to accommodate players who have reached the U12 age group where girls and boys no longer play rugby league together.
“We will continue to deliver in schools to ensure that we have a thriving community rugby league scene over the next few years. Many of the schools we have worked with will be attending the England v Greece game with tickets provided by the council to recognise their engagement with rugby league.”