RLWC2021: Tournament General Manager Jon Dutton talks about breaking records and learning from the Women’s Euro | Rugby League News

Rugby World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton has high hopes for the women’s tournament, including setting the attendance record for a home international involving England in either code ; he also explained what has been learned from the ongoing Women’s Euro 2022

Last update: 27/07/22 11:53

England women will be at the center of a home Rugby World Cup later this year

The attendance record for an England women’s international at home of either code of rugby is 15,863. The organizers of this year’s Rugby World Cup are aiming to break that.

That aforementioned record was set during the Women’s Six Nations Rugby Union earlier this year when England took on Ireland at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in Leicester, showing just how much this competition has grown these last years.

But with rugby league’s world gathering arriving on these shores for the first time since 2013 – albeit a year later than originally planned – the ambition is to at least replicate the success of this edition. , especially with the women’s and wheelchair tournaments running alongside the men’s tournaments. an event.

A crowd of over 5,000 is expected at the Copper Box for England’s wheelchair opener against Australia, while the first match of the men’s tournament between England and Samoa at St James’ Park also heads to a full house. Now it is hoped that the women’s opener between England and Brazil at Headingley on November 1 will also set a new benchmark.

“It’s massive, isn’t it?” RLWC2021 chief executive Jon Dutton has said it is possible to close in on Headingley’s 19,700-seater capacity for the England-Brazil clash.

“We’re talking about great times; we’re going to start with a bang at Newcastle and with Leeds [when Australia face Fiji at Headingley] the day of the opening. So we are going straight to the end of this tournament and the three finals in Manchester, which I think will be an incredible moment for all of us.

“Then we have these peaks, including that England v Brazil match, so the sales for that and England v Australia wheelchair at the Copper Box are amazing.

Organizers target record crowds at Headingley for Women's World Cup opener

Organizers target record crowds in Headingley for Women’s World Cup opener

“It’s the greatest moment in 127 years in terms of a rugby league tournament and we have real celebrations along the way. But I’m looking forward to playing England against Brazil and being in a crowd who hopefully we will sell out to Headingley.”

This match and the host nation’s last match in Group A will be a double-header involving the other two teams in the group, Canada and Papua New Guinea, while all Group B matches between Australia, New Zealand, France and the Cook Islands will be played as a double-header at York Community Stadium.

York will also host the semi-finals while the women’s final will take place before the men’s game at Old Trafford – another sold-out day – on November 19.

Dutton sees no reason why RLWC2021 cannot replicate the success of the ongoing Women’s Euro 2022 football tournament in attracting large crowds for matches not involving the hosts, which he has seen first hand in attending group stage matches hosted in his home town of Leigh.

Highlights of the test match between England Women and France Women in June

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Highlights of the test match between England Women and France Women in June

Highlights of the test match between England Women and France Women in June

He was also at the opening match between England and Austria in Manchester and worked with his counterparts on the Euro 2022 organizing committee to see what lessons can be applied in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup. rugby union.

“It feels like a festival – it feels like a celebration,” Dutton said of his experiences at Euro 2022. “It was a big party at Old Trafford; we walked from the tram station to Old Trafford and saw people queuing in front of the turnstiles ready for the doors to open and for me that was just a really big moment.

“I think inside the venues we saw a family atmosphere. We saw a celebration. It’s obviously different when England play compared to games, but the other games have been very crowded with people foreign viewers, but mostly local people, and I think that’s exactly the same as what we’re going to experience.

“As far as what we can learn from the organisers, we have been very close to them throughout as they have obviously also postponed the tournament.

England captain Emily Rudge presents the World Cup before the competition in November

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England captain Emily Rudge presents the World Cup before the competition in November

England captain Emily Rudge presents the World Cup before the competition in November

“I think what we’ll learn from them is in particular the ticket buying habits of what they had initially, but then the benefits of having that exposure afterwards from a media perspective, but also from the point of view of dissemination.

The decision by reigning world champions Australia and 2008 World Cup winners New Zealand not to travel to the UK last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the postponement of the tournament to October and November.

Rather than being able to own the space as was the case in 2021, the tournament now falls into a year that sees England host the Commonwealth Games with the Women’s Euros, but Dutton has no fear that means that the RLWC2021 will be drowned out with everything else. pass.

“We wouldn’t have had this in 21,” Dutton said. “I said we were proud to be alone in 21, but we happen to be thrilled to be among other events in 22 and to see the positivity, the optimism and also to see a real audience family.

“I think that’s one of the things, again, that we’re reconnecting with the sport of rugby league.”

Sky Sports

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