UCLan's Sports Arena to host Wales' men’s team as RLWC2021 nation training bases announced

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The announcement celebrates 500 days until the opening fixture of RLWC2021

With 500 days to go until the opening fixture of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), tournament organisers have announced that the Sports Arena at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will be the training base for Wales’ men’s team.

The Rugby League World Cup is coming to England in 2021, with the groundbreaking tournament hosting the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games concurrently for the first time ever. Preston’s citizens can join the party atmosphere, as the town will act as the training base for Wales’ men’s side, as they look to make their mark on the biggest stage of all.

The squads from the 21 unique nations and 32 teams will be based in different locations. The full list of host towns and cities, and the corresponding nations is as follows:

  • Bolton – France (Men’s)
  • Doncaster – Samoa (Men’s)
  • Hull – Fiji (Men’s)
  • Leeds – Jamaica, Ireland (Men’s) | England, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Canada (Women’s)
  • Liverpool and St Helens – Tonga, Italy (Men’s teams)
  • London – England, Australia, Norway, Spain (Wheelchair)
  • Manchester – England, Australia (Men’s)
  • Newcastle – Scotland (Men’s)
  • Preston – Wales (Men’s)
  • Sheffield – Greece (Men’s) | France, Wales, Scotland, USA (Wheelchair)
  • Tees Valley – Cook Islands (Men’s)
  • Warrington – Papua New Guinea (Men’s)
  • Wigan/Leigh – Lebanon (Men’s)
  • York – New Zealand (Men’s) | Australia, New Zealand, France, Cook Islands (Women’s)

All the host cities and towns, including those who won’t be a dedicated team base (Coventry and Kirklees), will form a huge part of making the tournament a success, welcoming players from around the world and adopting them as their own, as they get behind them and cheer them on in 500 days’ time. Following this announcement, the fixtures for all three tournaments will be announced in the coming months.

It is a privilege for Preston to be part of such an inclusive tournament bringing together men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams from across the world for the first time in a celebration of diversity and sport.

RLWC2021 has today also revealed new branding for the tournament, celebrating the power of together, focusing on human interest stories and emotional connections, with the goal of connecting with a universal audience.

The new branding will also include bespoke elements from each host, drawing on recognisable icons and displaying the sense of civic pride each host has for its town or city. RLWC2021 will be asking people from each town and city to vote on the icons that make up their custom patterns in the coming months and will be doing something similar for the nations towards the end of the year.

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said: “Today marks another hugely exciting milestone on the road to Rugby League World Cup 2021 as we celebrate 500 days until the opening fixture at St James' Park in October next year.

“This is great news for the people of Preston, it’s a wonderful city and the perfect place for the Wales’ men’s side to prepare for the tournament in 2021. I am sure that they’ll give the Welsh team a fantastic welcome next year and the team can enjoy the fantastic facilities at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Sports Arena.

“Our refreshed tournament identity and today’s nation base announcement can serve as an exciting reminder for the people of Preston of what’s to come in 2021 as we continue to build momentum towards what promises to be the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history.”

 UCLan's Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin added: “It’s fantastic news to hear we’ll be hosting the Welsh team at the UCLan Sports Arena – it is the perfect training venue.  We have a long history of welcoming international sports teams to use our outstanding facilities with Ireland and Fiji having trained here the last time the Rugby League World Cup was on home soil.

“Now with Wales coming to the city in 2021 I’m sure our students and the local community will feel excited and inspired to really feel a part of this international sporting event.”

Mayor of Preston, Councillor David Borrow, said: “On behalf of the city of Preston I am delighted to welcome the Welsh Rugby League men’s team to the city.  I know everyone in Preston will join together to welcome Wales and make them feel at home.

“We have world class facilitates at UCLan which will be the perfect place for them to tackle the world cup head on.

“It is a privilege for Preston to be part of such an inclusive tournament bringing together men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams from across the world for the first time in a celebration of diversity and sport.”

Please visit www.RLWC2021.com for more information and for details on how to sign up to the receive ticket alerts and all the latest news first.

Chris Theobald | 10 June 2020