With five real contenders for the men’s crown, and the women’s and wheelchair tournaments getting a deserved showcase, the sport has an incredible platform
It was the then RFL chairman, Brian Barwick, who was given the task of making the opening remarks when England were awarded the right to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup six years ago. More than 2,100 days have passed since then and plenty has changed; there has been significant turnover at the top of the sport, there has been a global pandemic leading to a 12-month delay and constant uncertainty but on Saturday, at long last, the action gets under way.
One thing that remains the same is Barwick’s belief that, if executed correctly, this tournament could be transformative for a sport that faces a fascinating future on and off the field. Make no mistake about it: rugby league in this country seldom gets opportunities on a stage as significant as this.