Everything you need to know about the 2021 Women’s Rugby League World Cup

Women's Rugby League World Cup launch Credit: Alamy
Women's Rugby League World Cup launch Credit: Alamy

The 2021 Women’s Rugby League World Cup gets underway on Tuesday November 1, as hosts England face history-making Brazil.

Team-by-team guide to the Women’s Rugby League World Cup

ENGLAND

Women's Rugby League World Cup launch Emily Rudge Credit: Alamy
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Coach: Craig Richards

Captain: Emily Rudge

Player to watch: Fran Goldthorp – the 19-year-old Leeds Rhinos back boasts prolific try-scoring experience.

Prospects: Fancied to go all the way but face a tough task against full-time southern hemisphere rivals.

2017 World Cup: Semi-finals

Fixtures: Brazil (Nov 1, Headingley, Leeds); Canada (Nov 5, DW Stadium, Wigan); Papua New Guinea (Nov 9, Headingley, Leeds)

BRAZIL

Women's Rugby League World Cup launch Brazil Credit: Alamy
Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Coach: Paul Grundy

Captain: Maria Graf

Player to watch: Franciny Amaral – the prop is the focal point of a tough Brazilian front row.

Prospects: A mere win would be miraculous given the team’s lack of competitive experience.

2017 World Cup: Didn’t participate

Fixtures: England (Nov 1, Headingley, Leeds); Papua New Guinea (Nov 5, MKM Stadium, Hull); Canada (Nov 9, Headingley, Leeds)

CANADA

Coach: Mike Castle

Captain: Gabrielle Hindley

Player to watch: Laura Mariu – represented New Zealand at five World Cups before switching nations due to her Canadian mother.

Prospects: The Ravens will be hopeful of repeating their 2017 semi-final appearance.

2017 World Cup: Semi-finals

Fixtures: Papua New Guinea (Nov 1, Headingley, Leeds); England (Nov 5, DW Stadium, Wigan); Brazil (Nov 9, Headingley, Leeds)

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Coach: Ben Jeffries

Captain: Elsie Albert

Player to watch: Elsie Albert – the PNG captain is the only squad member playing in Australia’s women’s NRL.

Prospects: Their 2019 win over England suggests they can realistically target the last four.

2017 World Cup: Group stage

Fixtures: Canada (Nov 1, Headingley, Leeds); Brazil (Nov 5, MKM Stadium, Hull); England (Nov 9, Headingley, Leeds)

AUSTRALIA

Coach: Brad Donald

Captain: Kezie Apps, Sam Bremner, Ali Brigginshaw

Player to watch: Winger Julia Robinson is a fast-rising star who has won three NRLW titles with Brisbane.

Prospects: The double defending champions will start as heavy favourites to claim a third straight crown.

2017 World Cup: Winners

Fixtures: Cook Islands (Nov 2, York Community Stadium, York); France (Nov 6, York Community Stadium, York); New Zealand (Nov 10, York Community Stadium, York)

COOK ISLANDS

Coach: Anthony Matua

Captain: Kimiora Breayley-Nati

Player to watch: Toka Natua – the experienced former Black Ferns prop will line up for the Cook Islands in her second World Cup.

Prospects: Their shock win over England in 2017 shows they are not to be underestimated.

2017 World Cup: Group stage

Fixtures: Australia (Nov 2, York Community Stadium, York); New Zealand (Nov 6, York Community Stadium, York); France (Nov 10, York Community Stadium, York)

FRANCE

Coach: Vincent Baloup

Captain: Alice Varela

Player to watch: Laureane Biville – the pacey winger joined Wigan Warriors in 2022 and scored three tries in four appearances.

Prospects: Far from embarrassed but are unlikely to progress from a tough group.

2017 World Cup: Didn’t participate

Fixtures: New Zealand (Nov 2, York Community Stadium, York); Australia (Nov 6, York Community Stadium, York); Cook Islands (Nov 10, York Community Stadium, York)

NEW ZEALAND

Coach: Ricky Henry

Captain: Krystal Rota

Player to watch: Otesa Pule – the 19-year-old Sydney Roosters second-rower is ready to make a major international breakthrough.

Prospects: Have arguably not stood a better chance of ending the reign of rivals Australia since their last World Cup win in 2008.

2017 World Cup: Runners-up

Fixtures: France (Nov 2, York Community Stadium, York); Cook Islands (Nov 6, York Community Stadium, York); Australia (Nov 10, York Community Stadium, York)

The history of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

It is the sixth time that the Women’s Rugby League World Cup has been staged, and the third time in England.

The inaugural tournament was held in 2000, with New Zealand beating Great Britain 26-4 at Wilderspool.

A total of nine nations competed in the second edition, in 2003, which was also won by New Zealand, who won a third straight title in 2008.

The most recent two World Cups have both been won by Australia, beating the Kiwis in both finals.

In 2017, New Zealand beat England 52-4 in the semi-finals before losing 23-16 to Australia in the final.

Brazil are the only new nation at the 2021 World Cup, with the previous seven participants having already played in the tournament before.

Women’s Rugby League World Cup schedule

Tuesday November 1
England v Brazil, Headingley, 2.30pm
Papua New Guinea v Canada, Headingley, 5pm

Wednesday November 2
New Zealand v France, York Community Stadium, 5pm
Australia v Cook Islands, York Community Stadium, 7.30pm

Saturday November 5
England v Canada, DW Stadium, 12pm
Papua New Guinea v Brazil, MKM Stadium, 5pm

Sunday November 6
New Zealand v Cook Islands, York Community Stadium, 5pm
Australia v France, York Community Stadium, 7.30pm

Wednesday November 9
Canada v Brazil, Headingley, 5pm
England v Papua New Guinea, Headingley, 7.30pm

Thursday November 10
France v Cook Islands, York Community Stadium, 5pm
Australia v New Zealand, York Community Stadium, 7.30pm

Monday November 14
Semi-finals, York Community Stadium, 5pm and 7.30pm

Saturday November 19
Final, Old Trafford, 1.15pm

How to watch the Women’s Rugby League World Cup

Every game from the tournament is being broadcast live on BBC. The England games are being broadcast live on BBC Two, with those games and all the others available via BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport online.

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