England v Australia
England were defeated by Australia in the 2017 World Cup final

The men’s 2021 Rugby League World Cup will kick off with hosts England against Samoa at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, and holders Australia against Fiji in Hull’s KCOM Stadium on Saturday, 23 October.

England’s women open their tournament against Brazil at Headingley Stadium in Leeds on Monday, 9 November.

The wheelchair tournament starts with a double-header on 11 November.

Spain face Norway in the first game and England then play Australia.

“This is a huge moment for the tournament,” said its chief executive Jon Dutton.

“Fans can really look forward to being part of this unique, global event. With match dates and locations confirmed, the excitement will only intensify.”

Which games stand out?

In the men’s competition, Australia’s opener against Fiji – a repeat of the semi-final in 2013 and 2017 – promises to be an exciting encounter, as does England’s opener.

Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium will host 2017’s semi-finalists and surprise package Tonga against Cook Islands on Sunday, 7 November, while New Zealand take on tournament newcomers Jamaica at Headingley on Saturday, 30 October.

England Women take on Papua New Guinea’s Orchids at Headingley on Wednesday, 17 October, having toured the Pacific Island last year, while Australia’s Jillaroos face rivals New Zealand on Thursday, 18 November in York.

Reigning two-time champions France are the team to beat in the wheelchair competition, with games against Wales and Scotland in Sheffield on 12 and 15 November respectively.

The home nations

Shaun Wane’s England will play their group stage games in Newcastle, against France at the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday, 30 October, and Greece at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane on Saturday, 6 November.

Should they progress, a quarter-final at Liverpool’s Anfield would be their reward, and a semi-final would take place at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

The final is at Old Trafford – home of Manchester United – as it was when England hosted the World Cup in 2013.

Scotland, who will be based in the north-east of England, will play two of their games at Newcastle’s Kingston Park, with their match against world champions Australia at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena – where both teams played at the 2016 Four Nations.

Two of Wales’ fixtures are to be played at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium against Tonga and the Cook Islands, with the Papua New Guinea game at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.

Leeds will stage Ireland’s games against New Zealand and Jamaica – on Friday, 5 November and Sunday, 24 October – while the Lebanon game will be in Leigh on Sunday, 7 November.

Women’s & wheelchair tournament schedules

England Women, as the only home representatives, begin and finish their group stage at Leeds, with the Brazil opener and the PNG match, but their second group match against Canada is part of an Anfield double-header with the men’s quarter-finals.

Their final will be a double-header with the men’s game at Old Trafford on Saturday, 27 November.

The wheelchair England side are at the Copper Box for all three group games against Australia, Spain and Norway.

Wales and Scotland will play all of their group games at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield, with France and USA also in their group.

Liverpool Arena is the host venue for their final on Friday, 26 November.

Ticket prices will be made available on 21 August, with priority access availability for those on the tournament’s database being opened on 21 September.

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