Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has today revealed the confirmed nations who will participate in the women’s tournament in 2021.
The announcements were made across the tournament’s official social media channels, we saw each of the eight individual nations revealed with a unique video showcasing what each nation will bring to RLWC2021.
Set to be the most inclusive rugby league event ever, RLWC2021 will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments played concurrently for the first time. International nations were asked to submit their expressions of interest earlier this year for RLWC2021 and Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) representatives to review.
The nations confirmed for the women’s tournament are:
Each nation was assessed against set criteria that reviewed their current international and domestic infrastructure, their plans for growth and their potential impact on RLWC2021. The draw for the tournament will take place in November 2019.
Speaking about the announcement, Jon Dutton, Chief Executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, said: “We’re delighted the three-times world champions, the Kiwi Ferns, will be taking part in the biggest and best Women’s RLWC in 2021. The Kiwi Ferns have fantastic quality in their ranks, and it will be brilliant to see them showcased to the world, here in England.
“I would like to congratulate each nation that has been chosen to take part in the women’s tournament. We had some fantastic submissions and unfortunately, we couldn’t say yes to each nation, however, we’re confident the chosen nations will play their role in delivering the greatest, and most inclusive, Rugby League World Cup of all time. It is especially pleasing to see an inaugural South American nation compete in a Rugby League World Cup”
RLIF Chief Executive Officer Nigel Wood added: “Women’s sport is growing exponentially, and rugby league is no exception. The fact that we were oversubscribed for this competition demonstrates the immense appetite for our sport. We are encouraged that female athletes around the world are participating and rising to the challenge of skill, fitness, strength and mental toughness provided by rugby league.
“I would like to add my congratulations to each nation and wish them all the best in their build-up to what will be a fantastic event in 2021 and to thank all the nations who participated in this process and we hope that they will join in the women’s Emerging Nations World Cup, which will be a part of the Festival of World Cups 2021.
“We have to ensure that there is clear pathway developed quickly to cater for a fuller women’s international programme with events organised locally, regionally and globally, all leading to a full qualification process for the RLWC2025.”
RLWC2021 will begin with the men’s opening fixture featuring England at St James’ Park on Saturday 23rd October 2021. The women’s tournament will begin at Anfield on Saturday 13th November 2021 and the wheelchair tournament will begin on Sunday 14th November 2021 at the Copper Box Arena, with England both featuring in those opening fixtures. The event will finish with a finals weekend (27th-28th November) with the wheelchair tournament concluding at the M&S Bank Arena and men’s and women’s final held as a double-header at Old Trafford.
Players, families and supporters from across the decades will head to Murray Halberg Park this weekend as the Marist Rugby League Club celebrates 100 years of existence.
It all starts with a masters game against Pt Chevalier on Friday night, with a number of the two clubs’ best-known players set to take the field.
Pirates legend Stacey Jones will don the No.7 jersey, with Monty Betham and Wairangi Koopu named on the bench, while current Marist coach Francis Meli heads up a Saints team which also includes Willie Wolfgramm and Henry Turua.
The game will be followed by a mix and mingle night at the club.
On Saturday the morning will be full of mini/mod games, and aside from rugby league the day will feature food stalls and activities for kids.
That evening the club will host a black-tie dinner at Alexandra Park in Epsom, with live entertainment from well-known musician Lapi Mariner and his 20/20 band.
The Saints will end the weekend on Sunday with a family day. Entertainment will be provided by the local community, including the Saints Up Performing Arts Academy and Owairaka Primary School.
Some points to note on the history of the club:
New Zealand rugby league has lost a legend.
It’s with great sorrow that we announce Kiwi #634 and Warrior #52, Quentin Pongia, lost his battle with bowel cancer on Saturday, May 18th, 2019.
Originally from the West Coast, Pongia moved to Canterbury at 18 in 1988. He crossed the Tasman in 1993 to play for Canberra, winning a premiership with them the following year. He remained with the club through to the end of 1997 before joining the Warriors in 1998, followed by the Roosters, Dragons and Wigan.
The relentless prop played 137 NRL games in his 13-year career, in which he gained a reputation as one of the game’s most feared players. On top of this, he also leaves behind a legacy carved by his black and white jersey.
Quentin represented the Kiwis 35 times between 1992 and 2000. He played a monumental role in New Zealand’s back-to-back victories over the Kangaroos at North Harbour Stadium in the 1990s, he then went on to captain the 1998 touring team that remains the only Kiwis side unbeaten from a three-test series in England, also earning himself New Zealand Rugby League player of the year.
In 2004, Quentin hung up his boots while signed with Wigan when it was discovered that he suffered from the contagious blood disorder hepatitis B. However, his involvement in rugby league didn’t end there. Pongia remained in the game when his playing days finished, having time on Canberra’s football staff and more recently he worked in the wellbeing area for the NRL, the Rugby League Players’ Association and lastly the Manly Sea Eagles.
He was also on the Kiwis’ staff for the 2009 end of season Four Nations campaign in the United Kingdom and France.
In an interview with stuff.co.nz last year, Quentin said “I’m a passionate Kiwi. That will never change … I’ve been away for 25 years in Australia, but I’m still black and white…It’s something that’s pretty close to my heart.”
A gentleman on and off the field, a legend of the game and a true friend to many. New Zealand Rugby League passes on their condolences to Quentin’s friends and family.
“Like a number of players who played with him, I have nothing but respect and a wonderful friendship with Quentin and although it saddens me to hear of the news, it comforts me to know he has no pain now. Quentin is the toughest individual I have ever played with and I know how hard he fought to beat this terrible disease. He will be sorely missed right across the rugby league community.” – Current Canberra coach and former teammate, Ricky Stuart.
“A legend, an absolute legend of rugby league. He played the game full on all the time, gave no quarter and the same with his cancer, he fought it until the bitter end – a wonderful man.” Sir Peter Leitch.
Vodafone Warriors and Kiwis hooker Issac Luke tweeted: “Farrrrrout this has saddened our @NRL and @NZRL_Kiwis community. Moe mai rā tōku tuakana. Thoughts and love to Q’s whanau. No more pain now brother. Only memories of how tough you were as a player on and off the field. May you rest in Love.”
Ex-Kiwi and Vodafone Warriors centre Nigel Vagana tweeted: “My @NZRL_Kiwis debut .. the 1st Anzac Test.. Johnny Lomax got hurt in opening 30secs. Q had to play 80mins in the front row, 1st game back after a long suspension & led us to victory. One of the toughest ever in the Black & White. Ka kite ano Uso.”
“Very sad to hear the passing of Quentin Pongia. One of the toughest NRL players of modern rugby league, and that reflected especially when he represented the Kiwis” – Kiwi and Manly Sea Eagles player, Martin Taupau tweeted.
“Being born in NZ but growing up in Oz, I found myself always following Kiwi players, regardless of the club jersey they wore. Quentin Pongia was one of the toughest to ever wear the black jersey and I’m so grateful to have known him. Rest In Peace Q” – Former Kiwi, Dene Halatau tweeted.
We invite you to join us at a luncheon hosted by Sir Peter Leitch, in support of Quentin’s family at the Ellerslie Event Centre on June 7.
Photo – PhotosportNZ