To celebrate the 200-days-to-go milestone to the start of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, organisers have embarked on a 48-hour tour of 18 host towns and cities with the tournament’s trophies, stopping off at Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium along its route.
With the Tees Valley set to play host to the Cook Islands, who are battling Tonga on 30 October 2022, the men’s, women’s and wheelchair trophies descended on the region. They were joined by Rugby League legend Jason Robinson who took part in a series of rugby league versus football drills on the pitch with Middlesbrough FC captain Jonny Howson.
The tournament was scheduled to take place in 2021 but due to coronavirus restrictions, was postponed until this year. The Cook Islands will be based for a number of weeks at Darlington’s five-star hotel and spa Rockliffe Hall as well as using the town’s Mowden Park as its official training base.
To mark the milestone, a 48-hour ticket upgrade offer has also been launched, whereby fans can benefit from a ticket upgrade that is too good to miss. This means any fans that buy a Category C ticket for the Tonga v Cook Islands fixture at The Riverside Stadium will have their tickets automatically upgraded to Category B. Fans can purchase this offer via www.rlwc2021.com/tickets.
The promotional tour has featured the tournament’s new campaign “This is Real Impact”, to support ticket promotion and provide a platform to tell the many stories of the contribution the tournament is making in communities through its social impact programme and in respect to inclusivity in hosting the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments under one World Cup for the first time in the sport’s history.
In the lead up to the event, a programme of community engagement, cultural and school events will take place, with more information to following in coming months. The tournament’s sporting legacy is already building foundations with more than 500 hours of rugby coaching & development work having taken place across schools in the Tees Valley.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “It was fantastic to have Jason and Jonny at the Riverside this morning as we welcomed the tournament trophies to the region as the excitement for the Rugby League World Cup continues to ramp up.
“We’ve been looking forward to giving Cook Islands a warm welcome for months now and, like sports fans across the region, I can’t wait for their clash against Tonga at the Riverside. This is another brilliant event coming to our area this year, along with the likes of the Teesside Airshow.
“This will attract thousands of people from right across the north, boosting our businesses as they spend in our high streets. I’d urge everyone from across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to snap up the tickets now – especially with the current promotion – so they don’t miss out.”
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said: “After an incredibly challenging couple of years for everyone, it is hugely exciting to be able to take our three unique trophies to each host partner as they put on their own celebration and make a ‘Real Impact’ in their local communities.
“We’d like to thank our partners in the Tees Valley for their brilliant event to mark the milestone. The road to RLWC2021 starts now and with this limited ticket offer and exciting new campaign being released, we hope to encourage fans up and down the country to obtain the best seats in the house at the best possible price.”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “It may have been delayed, but the Rugby League World Cup will be bigger and better than ever, and we’re hugely proud to be a part of it.
“Cook Islands have a very special historic link to Middlesbrough, and they can look forward to a proper Teesside reception, not to mention world class venues and facilities.
“The rest of the world will get to see how amazing this place is, and we can’t wait to welcome them here.”
Ticket prices for the Riverside match start at £15.00 for concessions, with more than 80% of tickets priced below £50. Fans can purchase tickets via www.rlwc2021.com/tickets.
Follow the Trophies Tour live on RLWC2021’s official social media channels Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, with exclusive content including interviews, event snaps and behind-the-scenes footage of the 48-hour tour.