A look at the last three Rugby League World Cups in the UK

This year’s postponed Rugby League World Cup is the 16th since 1954 but has only been held regularly for 26 years.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at the last three tournaments played in the UK.


Rugby league was in a state of flux on the eve of the Super League revolution and plans to celebrate the game’s centenary were rushed and carried out at the last minute, but organizer Maurice Lindsay managed to get Diana Ross involved bring to perform at the opening ceremony and the tournament proved to be a success.

Much of this was thanks to the first game in which England beat defending champions and hot favorites Australia at Wembley Stadium live on BBC on a Saturday afternoon to set the tournament on fire.

Crowds then flocked to Keighley, Gateshead and Cardiff to watch the 10 nations battle it out in the group stage before England beat a star-studded team from Wales in the semi-finals and Australia overtook New Zealand in extra time.

Status Quo performed at the final which drew 66,540 spectators to Wembley but there was no fairy tale ending for the home side as Bob Fulton’s Kangaroos prevailed 16-8 despite being forced by the Super League war to find a weakened team to set up.


The tournament was such a financial disaster that it took eight years before the game felt confident enough to hold another tournament.

Bad weather played a part but organizers clearly overwhelmed themselves with over-ambitious plans, most notably the decision to increase the number of teams to 16 and move games to areas such as Belfast, Reading and Watford.

Australia retained the trophy with a 40-12 win over New Zealand in the final at Old Trafford, where a crowd of 44,329 had swelled with the distribution of thousands of free tickets.


Who can forget Shaun Johnson’s converted try 20 seconds from the end of a thrilling Wembley semi-final that denied England a place in the final?

Under Steve McNamara England had endured a difficult build-up, losing to Italy in a warm-up game and struggling off the field which saw Zak Hardaker and Rangi Chase leave camp before the closing stages.

Still, they grew into the tournament and after hammering against France in the quarter-finals, they took a well-deserved 18-14 lead over then-holders New Zealand in the semi-finals, until Johnson struck cruelly with the last play of the game.

The tournament as a whole was a roaring success, with seven full stadiums, four of which set stadium records, culminating in a crowd of 74,468 for the final at Old Trafford, where Australia beat the Kiwis 34-2.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/england-australia-wembley-rugby-league-new-zealand-b2199967.html A look at the last three Rugby League World Cups in the UK

Fry Electronics Team

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