Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) has today (Wednesday) replaced West Cumbria’s Allerdale stadium with Newcastle’s Kingston Park as a host venue for England’s staging of the national team tournament.
The home of League 1 rugby league club Newcastle Thunder and Championship rugby union team Newcastle Falcons has been appointed following Allerdale Borough Council’s decision to withdraw its bid to host matches after last month’s move to reconsider plans for the new stadium in Workington.
Kingston Park will host three men’s fixtures in 2021, adding another North East venue to the tournament, with the opening ceremony followed by England men’s first fixture already taking place at St James’ Park, home of Premier League football club Newcastle United, and a further men’s fixture taking place at the Riverside Stadium, which plays host to Championship team Middlesbrough.
The 10,200-capacity Kingston Park opened its doors in 1990 and has been home to Newcastle Thunder since 2015. Jon Dutton, chief executive of RLWC2021, said: “Newcastle is already playing a critical part in the tournament and we are delighted to add a further three high-profile matches in the city.
“Given the disappointing news regarding the withdrawal of Allerdale, we wanted to ensure that the replacement venue was within reach of West Cumbria, whilst also offering rugby league and sports fans the opportunity to have a broader offer in Newcastle that will add to an already exciting opening weekend.”
Councillor Nick Forbes, leader at Newcastle City Council, added: “Newcastle is building a growing reputation as a city that can host huge events, this year we have welcomed 100,000 visitors for the Heineken Cup Challenge and Champions Cup Finals and inspirational athletes from across the globe competing in the World Transplant Games.
“I look forward to once again showcasing what Newcastle is all about, our friendly Geordie welcome, vibrant city centre and unrivalled passion for sport.”
England 2021 will see the Rugby League World Cup’s men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions being staged together for the first time.