The trophies arrived at the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) University Square at 9.15am, where they were greeted by the UCLan’s men’s rugby league team, UCLan’s cheerleaders, a number of Preston schools’ rugby teams and Preston College’s dance troop.
Preston is hosting the men’s Welsh team for the competition in Autumn 2022, with the tournament seeing England welcome world-class athletes to perform on rugby league’s biggest stage.
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will also be one of the most inclusive and diverse sporting events ever hosted in England, promoting the three simultaneous disciplines of the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions.
Speaking before the trophies arrived, Mayor of Preston, Councillor Javed Iqbal said: “We are excited to host the RLWC trophies as they tour across the host cities to celebrate 200 days to go. We are incredibly proud to be a host city for a Rugby League World Cup 2021 training camp, which will take place later this year. Preston is perfectly located for fans and teams to access game locations across England, and has a proven track record with hosting international teams, thanks to the University of Central Lancashire’s state of the art facilities.”
Professor Graham Baldwin, UCLan Vice-Chancellor, had also previously commented: “As the excitement builds for the return of the Rugby League World Cup on home soil, we’re delighted to be welcoming the world-famous trophies to our new University Square. We can’t wait to welcome the men’s Welsh rugby league team to our fantastic facilities at our Sports Arena.”
Rugby League Development Officer for Preston North End Community and Education Trust, Ryan Allen, expressed PNECET’s excitement at the three trophies visiting Preston, calling it an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those who have accessed rugby league provision through PNECET.
PNECET invited girls from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, winners of their International Women’s Day primary school Rugby League tournament, Preston College students who have been attending the college’s first ever rugby league club with PNECET for the past six months, and members of their local rugby league club, Preston and South Ribble Rabbitohs, to come see the trophies, in the hope it would “inspire them to remain involved in the sport.”
“Our provision continues to drive participation and interest in rugby league among all age groups through the power and appeal of the football club. We look forward to continuing our work – alongside Preston City Council, UCLan and the RFL – to leave a lasting legacy of Rugby League in Preston and our surrounding communities”, Ryan added.
Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of RLWC2021, said: “After a 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 community.
“The road to RLWC2021 starts now and with this limited ticket offer and exciting new campaign being released, we hope to encourage fans far and wide be involved in the biggest, best and most inclusive Rugby League World ever to be staged.”