Rugby League World Cup 2021 Ticket Ballot Opens As Riverside Lights Up For One-Year Countdown

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 23rd October 2020

The public ballot for tickets to the Rugby League World Cup 2021 has opened today (23 October) kicking off the one-year countdown to the tournament, during which the Tees Valley will host a team and fixture.

The game, between the Cook Islands and Tonga, will take place at Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium at 2.30pm on Sunday 7 November 2021, with the Riverside being lit up to mark the start of the countdown.

The two teams, both from islands in the South Pacific Ocean, have previously faced each other 12 times, with world number-four ranked team Tonga winning 11 of the matches.

The Cook Islands take their name from Middlesbrough-born Captain James Cook, who visited many of the nation’s southern islands, and the team will be based in the Tees Valley while they compete in the seven-week tournament. They will be based at Darlington’s Rockliffe Hall and train at the town’s Mowden Park, just ten minutes away.

The public ticket ballot – the first in Rugby League World Cup history – opened at 9:00 23 October 2020 (today) and will remain open for applications until 16 November 2020 at 20:21. This is the last chance for fans to be able to apply for tickets for each of the 61 matches across all three tournaments – men’s, women’s and wheelchair – at 2020 promotional rates, with tickets in each price band at every game available.

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 is looking to deliver the biggest and best Rugby League tournament ever and the event could attract tens of thousands of international rugby fans to the area, delivering an £8million economic boost.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’re delighted to be hosting the Cook Islands and their game against Tonga, with excitement mounting as the clock ticks down to this South Pacific derby.

“At this time, more than ever we need to look to the future and the positive things coming to our region and there’s nothing better than a world-class sporting event like this to give everyone something to look forward to.

“People across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool will give both teams a warm welcome, and it’s a great opportunity to highlight our region and its top-class facilities to the teams from halfway across the world, as well as hordes of rugby league followers.

“This match will be fantastic for our local fans, which have only grown in number as we make more and more announcements, and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of conversions too!”

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 CEO, said today: “23 October is a day we have all been looking forward to as the one-year countdown begins to the opening match in Newcastle between England and Samoa in 2021. But also, today is a landmark moment not just for the tournament but also the sport of Rugby League as we have the opportunity to welcome many potential future Rugby League fans to the sport through the Public Ticket ballot.

“The ballot provides a brilliant chance for anybody who wants to attend RLWC2021 and watch the most exciting and competitive Rugby League available and be part of sporting history next autumn.”

“Tees Valley has a big part to play in next years’ tournament, and with just one year to go, we can feel the excitement and tension mounting as the world’s best will be coming to Tees Valley.”

“England has a rich history of staging great global sporting events with phenomenal public support. We know the Rugby League World Cup 2021 will be no different and fans will turn out in record numbers to support the event.”

The bid was put together by a partnership of the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, Middlesbrough Football Club, Darlington Mowden Park RFC, MFC Foundation, Middlesbrough Council and Darlington Borough Council.

To apply for tickets in the Public Ticket Ballot, applicants must register an account via the official Rugby League World Cup 2021 Ticketing website, which can be accessed via

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