England Rugby League today launches a new playing kit to be worn by all three teams – Men, Women and Wheelchair – at this year’s Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) and steps up the countdown to the tournament by confirming that the Men’s team will finalise preparations when they play Fiji at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium on Friday October 7.
Designed in partnership with official England kit provider OXEN, the kit is a novel and exciting departure from the familiar all-white outfits worn in previous tournaments. England’s new kit also incorporates a striking chevron design, synonymous with international Rugby League, the ‘We are Ready’ motif, and a ribbing-styled collar and cuff effect befitting of an international shirt.
The redesign follows the postponement of RLWC2021 and the announcement of a major new shirt sponsor, Betfred. The playing kits will also feature another new sponsor, REIGN Total Body Fuel.
RFL Chief Commercial Officer, Mark Foster, says:
“Today marks another exciting step on the road to the Rugby League World Cup and we are all excited at the prospect of England supporters and players wearing the shirt at St James’ Park, Headingley, the Copper Box Arena and all the other fantastic World Cup venues. We thank our sponsors, Betfred, Ronseal and REIGN Total Body Fuel, for their support in getting behind England in what is a massive year for Rugby League.
“The Fiji match will be the perfect opportunity for our England Men’s team to show their credentials before they embark on an historic World Cup campaign on home soil. With the majority of tickets priced at £15 for Adults and £5 for Under 16s, we wanted this to be an affordable event for all Rugby League fans so that as many as possible can see off our England Men’s players in style just eight days before RLWC2021 begins.”
Lee Jenkinson, OXEN CEO, adds:
“World Cups don’t come around very often, so it’s been an honour and a privilege to develop the shirt design with the RFL and Rugby League supporters from a wide number of clubs. A common theme of all our discussions was a desire to take things in a new direction, while also recognising the traditions of international Rugby League. We are delighted with the final product and look forward to seeing it being worn proudly by all three England sides at this year’s Rugby League World Cup.”
Any fans who bought last year’s England shirt at full price will be able to buy the new shirt at 50% OFF and they will receive an email from Elite Pro Sports with details on how to redeem the offer.
In addition, for a limited period, all other fans buying the new shirt but not redeeming the 50% OFF offer will also receive a free England RL Community Jersey, which will be worn by all three England teams for Captain’s Runs during RLWC2021. The jersey, which usually retails at £34.99, features the names of all professional and community Rugby League teams in England.
RLWC2021 gets underway at Newcastle’s St James’ Park on Saturday October 15 when England play Samoa in the first match of the Men’s competition. England Women play their first game at Headingley Stadium, Leeds, against the RLWC debutants Brazil on Tuesday November 1, while England Wheelchair open their campaign against Australia at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Olympic Park on Thursday November 3.
Tickets for England v Fiji, when the Men’s team will wear the new kit for the first time, are on sale now at eticketing.co.uk/rugbyleague with the majority priced at only £15 Adults and £5 U16s. It will be a crucial run-out for England eight days ahead of their World Cup opener against Samoa at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Fiji have been semi-finalists in each of the last three Rugby League World Cups (2008, 2013 and 2017), and are expected to challenge strongly again this year with a number of NRL stars including the Parramatta wing Maika Sivo and the Penrith forward Viliame Kikau.
England have only previously played Fiji on three occasions, all in World Cups when they were drawn in the same group – 1995, 2000 and 2013. But on this occasion, they are in different groups, so cannot meet until at least the quarter finals.
England head coach Shaun Wane said:
“I said last year before the World Cup was postponed that Fiji were ideal opposition for us to get ready for the Samoa game, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to rearrange the game for this year. “They’re a very talented team who will give us a real challenge, which will be good for the players and for us as coaches – and as a Rugby League fan it’s a game I’d be looking forward to, so I hope our supporters come out and get behind us ahead of the World Cup.”
The game had originally been scheduled for Rochdale’s Crown Oil Arena last autumn, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Rochdale Hornets club and also their links to Fiji which stretch back to the 1960s when four pioneering players arrived in Lancashire in the depths of winter.
Following the postponement of the World Cup in 2021, the Crown Oil Arena is no longer available – but the RFL and Rochdale Hornets hope that in securing an alternative venue as close as possible to Rochdale, it will still be possible to retain an element of the celebrations.
Fans who have already bought tickets for the event should email Rochdale Hornets at email@example.com to transfer their ticket or to request a refund. More details can be found on their website at hornetsrugbyleague.co.uk
GROUP PHOTO (l-r): Emily Rudge; Lewis King; John Bateman
INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS: Amy Hardcastle; Rob Hawkins; Harry Newman