To mark Tees Valley’s bid to host Rugby League World Cup 2021 games passing its first major milestone, Mayor Ben Houchen today took part in a training session with a local junior club.
Mayor Houchen met Yarm Wolves’ under-nines team at Yarm Rugby Club for a training session, where the team hit the pitch for passing drills.
The event took place following the news that Tees Valley’s bid successfully progressed to the Candidate Stage of the World Cup process. Rugby League experts will now conduct site visits in the region before a final announcement is made in January 2019.
The bid, submitted last month, includes a proposal to host international group games and a semi-final in the men's competition as well as to provide a base for the Australian National Rugby League Team.
If successful, the bid could give the region an economic boost of up to £8million, attracting tourists from across the world to the area.
Mayor Houchen said: “I’m delighted we’ve got through to the next stage of the application. This just shows that we have a convincing bid that highlights the best our region has to offer, and demonstrates that we are an excellent match for this world-class event.
“They may be young, but Yarm Wolves have today shown the spirit and skill to be fantastic ambassadors for the future of Rugby League in the region. This is something the Rugby League organisation is keen to see and I’m glad we have the Wolves to back our bid, and I’d ask everyone else in the Tees Valley to get on board too.
“I had great fun training with the Wolves today. They certainly put me through my paces, I must be getting a bit rusty!”
Peter Lynn, Yarm Wolves’ Secretary, said: “The kids loved today and it was a brilliant opportunity to show the Mayor how dedicated they are to Rugby League, how hard they work for the game and how much the bid means to them.
“We’d love Rugby League to have a bigger presence here, hopefully leading to more local teams and helping the Wolves to grow. Getting the games would be terrific for Tees Valley. There’s always an electric atmosphere at the games and it’s a real family sport that anyone can enjoy.”
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 bid is being put together by a partnership of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Middlesbrough Council, Darlington Borough Council, Middlesbrough Football Club, and Darlington Mowden Park RFC.
· To show your support for the bid and to find out more, visit www.enjoyteesvalley.com/rugby and use the hashtags #BackTheBid and #TeesValley2021 when talking about the application on social media.