Men’s and wheelchair teams find out World Cup opponents

Wales Rugby League’s men’s and wheelchair teams have discovered who they will face at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Both tournaments will take place in England, with the men’s competition kicking off at St James’ Park in Newcastle on October 23, 2021 and Wales’ wheelchair team fixtures being played at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Wales’ men’s team will take on Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands in the group stages.

While Wales have faced Papua New Guinea and Cook Islands in World Cups at men’s level as recently as 2017 and 2013 respectively, it will be the first time they have come head-to-head with Tonga.

The wheelchair team will take on France, Scotland and USA, who they will meet for the very first time in their history.

Men’s team captain Elliot Kear, who was man of the match in Wales’ 2013 World Cup fixture with Cook Islands, said: “We’re all really excited about the next World Cup.

“We travelled to Papua New Guinea during the last World Cup so we’re aware how tough they are as an opposition.

“Tonga had a really strong World Cup in 2017 and should be just a strong next time around.

“It was a very even match against Cook Islands when we played them in the 2013 World Cup.

“It’s going to be a tough group for us, but we’re hoping to give it a really good go and build on the last couple of years.

“We’ve got a young, up-and-coming squad and we want to do well at this tournament.”

Wheelchair team head coach Steve Jones added: “I’m really happy with the draw.

“It’s going to be very hard playing world champions France as we know what they’re capable of.

“Even though we’ve got an impressive win-loss record against Scotland, we won’t underestimate them as, with their coaching set up and the players they’ve got coming through, they could certainly pull off a win.

“The USA are another team we won’t be taking lightly as there’s a lot of work going into the team and a there are a lot of good things being said about them.

“But we’re looking to put out our best team to date and hoping to progress from the group stages to the semi-finals.

“The hard work now begins for us.”